The Best GIF (-Related) Stories I Read This Year

The moving GIF started making its come-back a few years back, but only in 2012 did writers really agree to call the phenomenon in terms of a GIF Renaissance. It is, after all, the quarter-century anniversary of these fun looping pictures. The Oxford Dictionaries even named “GIF” word of the year, beating out “YOLO,” and rightly so. Ann Friedman wrote a good overview of what journalists need to know about the animated GIF, while Jezebel explained the reaction GIF.

Reddit has an endless log of GIFs. Buzzfeed’s GIF-lists go on (Mad Men!), and on (Olympics!), and on (rub-a-GIF!). Refresh with the GIFs on Colossal, and then repeat.

In part, we can credit the resurgence in GIFS to Tumblr, which boasts viral GIF-related sites such as #whatshouldwecallme and Friedman’s own #editorrealtalk. Tumblr even took it on to make an official announcementabout live-giffing the debates. Video games? Tumblr’s got them. The intertextual genius of The Simpsons? Tumblr’s on it. Cartoon cat GIFs? Well, of course.

Tumblr isn’t just for pop culture fans, though! You too can be an artist/curator on Tumblr. Joshua Heineman used his Tumblr to display old photographs, which had been transposed into GIFs. The New York Public Library loved it so much, they followed up with their own expanded version, which features a more theoretical essay by Heineman. The interest doesn’t stop here — see this other art market related piece on GIFs. I’m still trying to decide how seriously to take glitch GIFs (be warned, they can be headache inducing). Less glitchy are these abstract, seamless GIFs that The Atlantic believes will restore any doubter’s faith in GIFs.

But the big, wide internet is your limit: one of my favorite GIFfers isn’t even on Tumblr.

There are even entire curated art shows surrounding the moving GIF — and you don’t even have to be there to take part. See, for instance, the one featured at Art Basel Miami 2012 or the one held by The Photographer’s Gallery.

So, this December, which Christmas GIFs will you be giffing?

Jane Hu is a writer who likes baggy Victorian novels.

GIF via PandaWhale