In 2008, Laurel Ptak, founder of the blog iheartphotograph, curated 67 artist-made GIFs for Graphics Interchange Format, an exhibition at Brooklyn’s Bond Street Gallery. The gallery no longer exists and neither does the website that formerly hosted those GIFs. As Paddy noted in her “A Brief History of Animated GIF Art” series on artnet News, the lack of an online archive poses a problem for piecing together the format’s history.
Though we can’t poof the Graphics Interchange Format site back into existence, we can do what we’re good at: googling. All week we’re going to search the web for GIFs that were in the exhibition. For historians, artists, and consumers of net art, this GIFt’s for you.
Laurel Ptak’s Graphics Interchange Format had 26 artists make 67 GIFs. Our online hunting for those GIFs has resulted in fewer than a quarter of what would’ve originally been on view. It’s not just those GIFs that are rare on the net; some artists seem to have disappeared from the public web, too. (Although, to be fair, some have gone on to become more well-known: Alex Prager, Talia Chetrit, and Petra Cortright among them.)
For those GIFs we could not find, which were deleted long ago, we bid you farewell. We did not know you well, and likely never will.
Below, we give you the rest of the GIFs we were able to round up. And of course, if you have any tips on where to find the rest of the works from Graphics Interchange Format, we’re listening. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Top two GIFs: Anne de Vries, Jason Fulford.)