ANI GIF (2010–2014)

An online gallery for file-format specific exhibitions.

In 1987, the Graphics Interchange Format signaled a new era of computer art. Providing both a color palette (when most formats were black and white) and supporting animations (unprecedented at the time), GIFs offered impressively small file sizes that allowed them to be transferred over slow connection speeds.

As with text-based graphics and early paint programs, this new image format was born of necessity and framed by design constraints. For the most part (although a few artists experimented) the GIF served its purpose by allowing exchange of photos and drawings between Internet pioneers. A few years later, as the WWW opened the floodgates on the information age, Netscape enhanced GIFs with the ability to loop continuously. And, once again, the format dutifully served its purpose (often in animated form) as a building block in early web pages.

Animated GIFs created much of the thrill and joy in early web-browsing. However, they would soon be forgotten to newer, vector-based replacements (Macromedia Flash) or, even worse, mocked as a glittery gimmick of a bygone era. Redemption would be found in the late 2000s as a new generation of artists embraced the format, found an audience, and secured GIFs as a substantial creative medium.

ANI GIF provides a space for artists to explore the format's potential. By not restricting file or image sizes, the gallery also challenges the format's traditional limitations.