Animated GIFs: Art or Not?
Yes, animated GIFs are the political cartoons of our time!
What’s an animated GIF?
No, animated GIFs are just plain silly!
If I was able to I would have added one more choice to today’s poll: do gifs say it better than we do?
That latter is probably why politicians have taken to gifs. They are the defrnitive pictures that paint a thousand words.
And anything is art these days, isn’t it? I notice that there’s a trend in some quarters to describe graffitists (vandals, I say) as graffiti artists.
A few years ago an artist who applied for and received a grant used thousands of dollars to buy jewellery and to artistically lay it out in the open where it could be found around Melbourne’s CBD. And it was found by many and kept. It was a little like a children’s treasure hunt, only instead of chocolate coins there were diamond necklaces to be found.
We’ve become our own little artists. In the 20th Century we let our t-shirts do the talking for us before gifs came along. Through messages emblazoned on our chests, we entertained perfect strangers in the street; we made political statements, anti-war statements and we enhanced our personas through I’m too sexy for my T-shirt, t-shirts.
Now that we’ve gone electronic, the trend has moved on to animated gifs. Is it art? Well if strewing jewellery around the city and tacking expensive necklaces to the side of rubbish tips is art, well why not gifs? They’re less expensive and have the potential to reach a larger audience. Is it a valid way of making political commentary? Is it merely high school hijinks? I think it’s deeper than that.
Gifs have become our new proxies so anything we want to say we can say it through the medium of a gif, the possibilities are endless. That’s the beauty of gifs.