Jesse Walker on How GIFs Became Art


From Reason's November issue, Books Editor Jesse Walker explains how the online animations known as GIFs have become high art. While the most popular GIFs are tiny snippets from movies and TV, ripped from one context and plugged into another—such as a Tumblr post or a BuzzFeed article—serious artists are working with GIFs too. As Walker explains, photographers who want to introduce motion to their images, animators more interested in crafting a moment than telling an extended story, cartoonists who'd like to let some of their panels move, and collagists delighted to have an extra dimension to play with are all now using GIFs to create strange and striking micro-movies.