Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies: The Animated GIF as Place looks at artists who use GIFs to present fully realized environments—architectural spaces, alternate realities, cyberspace utopias, cyberpunk dystopias or personal escapes. Organized by GIFs as web pages, GIFs as stand-alone images and GIFs as series, the show tracks a number of themes: the city as a network of personal and social spaces, the personification of the landscape as avatar, the browser, or more broadly, the digital as space and ubiquitous battlefield.
Now 28 years old, the GIF is the aging poster child for the placeless image. Standardized to slip in and out of various software, HTML pages, projectors and mobile phone screens, it thrives in the unbounded space of the Internet. The GIF is often referred to as a type of “micro-cinema,” but in reality it holds more in common with proto-cinematic art forms, such as the stained-glass window, sequential mosaic or architectural procession. Like these, it can tell a story but is most effective at inspiring wonder.
Above: Hugo Moreno, “Art Department Walls”, 2015, one of nine animated GIFs drawn from Moren’s video art “Art Department Walls”
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