From a geeky start 25 years ago, gifs have now become a favourite method of online expression. The low-res, repetitive rotating images still have an air of early interwebs about them, but art and commerce are co-opting gifs as a way to be Relevant and Down With The Kids, especially with all this New Aesthetic stuff knocking about.
Andy Ellison’s Inside Insides project features rather elegant gifs of his MRI scans of fruit and veg (see the broccoli above), while Lanvin’s S/S campaign took the budget jolty aesthetic to Rodeo Drive, baby.
They can be very beautiful and meaningful and stuff, but they’re mainly a satirical tool, whether practiced for political point-scoring, or just silliness (as preached by my current favourite gif partiers Jezebel and London Grumblr). They range from hugely powerful memes, to reminders of last night’s telly.
TV shows including Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Downton Abbey, The Thick Of It, Mad Men and Arrested Development seem to provide the best gif fodder.
But whatever their meaning, sometimes they’re just a far, far better way of expressing things than text or static images ever could be, like this classic:
Is there any better way to express “Yays”? Thanks, Kermie.