As part of Internet Week Europe McGarryBowen have curated an exhibition to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format).
The exhibition provides entertaining examples of GIFs throughout the past 25 years, using a chronology of computers to highlight just how long the GIF has been used for.
Visitors are invited to peruse early examples of GIFs from 1987 before animated versions became the norm a couple of years later. There are then hundreds of examples that are more familiar including animations that grew in popularity with geocities web pages, such as the 'under construction' banner, through to dancing babies and numerous cat examples that were a staple of inboxes during the 1990's.
As you move around the space, witnessing the advancements in technology that the GIFs would have been created and viewed on, it becomes apparent that although the format has remained relatively unchanged throughout the years, people are still finding new and creative ways to use the simple process to produce something exciting, much of which we see on Tumblr today.
Something of particular interest to us at SHOWstudio is how the fashion industry has adopted the GIF, a topic that has a display dedicated to it within the space. GIFs and cinemagraphs (still imagery where movement is limited to a small section of the image) have been used commonly within the industry over the last couple of years as they provide a beautiful way to promote brands and position them within popular culture. There are some great examples on display, including the Mary Katrantzou animation (above) and Nick Knight's interpretations as part of the SHOWstudio Whaam project.
Stereoscopic animations are another relatively new use of GIFs that are on display here. This is the use of 3 or more cameras, which are slightly offset providing the illusion that there is movement in depth. It was great to see this more modern technique juxtaposed against the classic GIF art of the 90's.
RetrospectGIF offers a wonderful curation of GIFs through the years that highlight nostalgia, creativity and entertainment. If you are a fan of the format (or even not) this exhibition is definitely worth a visit.
RetrospectGIF runs till 16 November 2012. For more information on the exhibition and other Internet Week events, visit the Internet Week website.