The Future Of GIFs As Gallery Art, According To The Current Sea
An episode of The Simpsons called “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” sums up the turn-of-the-century internet quite well. Homer builds a website, dubbed “Mr. X’s Web Page” and populates it with animated GIFs of Jesus dancing, screaming mouths, and flying toasters. Commenting on the fact that Homer’s page has gotten zero hits, the budding new media guru Lisa offers “You have to offer people something: a joke, an opinion, and idea.” Homer quickly changes Mr. X’s website to be about local Springfield gossip, featuring the slogan “All the muck fit to rake,” in the vein of The Drudge Report, and quickly blows up.
Consider The Current Sea’s mission as an effort to bridge to gap between Homer’s initial cacophonous, irreverant GIFs and Lisa’s advice to “offer people something.” In the words of Sarah Zucker, “A well executed GIF gives you all the impact of a video that could be ten times its length.” Along with Brian Griffith, Zucker started The Current Sea to accomplish its mission of elevating the animated GIF, a medium that an immodest number of people seem to be passionate about. Zucker sees GIFs as so much more than just entertaining ways to show your followers on Tumblr snippets of Parks and Recreation.
The Current Sea envisions GIFs hanging on walls like art (not dissimilar to GIF-focused art collective 15 Folds, or the low-fi animations by Mike and Claire), GIFs being used by any number of companies to entrance and seduce customers. She looks to recent use of GIFs by news websites and knows that there must be a greater purpose.
When discussing such prospects, she is quick to acknowledge that the animated GIF is perhaps the ultimate emblem of our collectively slashed attention spans. “You could say that’s a bad thing, but to me it’s just an indication that we’ve become so selective about what we’re willing to give our time to.” Griffith picks up on this thought when recounting that “we’ve seen time and again that when we show people a GIF on our phone, it’s not like a picture where you just look and go ’oh that’s cool.’ It captivates the user for seconds or sometimes minutes at a time.”
Much more at http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-future-of-gifs-as-gallery-art-according-to-the-current-sea
http://shadenoise.tumblr.com/ ( Brian Griffith )