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GIF it up!

Come into the Fold, with the best user-submitted moving pics ahead of the 15 Folds show tonight

Last week, we asked you to send over your self-made moving pic files to appear at GIF art tumblr 15 Folds' first ever IRL show, opening tonight. Of the many that zapped over their creations on the theme of "everything, all at once", Stella Zaryan, Sara Ivanyi FF were Kenny Batu were chosen and will be hung and loaded onto their custom-made AR app at the Hoxton Square gallery tonight. Scan through the winners and runners up in the gallery above, and read co-founder Sean Frank's interview on the most moving art of the moment below. 

When did you first get excited about the artistic potentials of the GIF?

From the moment we saw them starting to appear in internet culture and being shared across platforms like tumblr. Having undergone a complete revival from the pixellated 2-bit colours of the first 80’s iterations of gifs, we started seeing humour, elegance and experimentation. Gifs are a hybrid between stills photography and video but the standard rules of time don’t apply. For a creative person that’s an exciting proposition. 

Can you explain some of the ideas behind 15 Folds? 

15 Folds is a online gif art gallery founded in London in 2012. 

We curate monthly group shows featuring original gif artworks from leading creatives.

The concept started as an experiment; a contemporary interpretation of the Surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse. We wondered how this could translate online using gifs. We decided to simplify the concept by asking 15 artists to make a gif in response to a theme set by us each month. The title 15 Folds, is a direct homage to the original concept and the folding of paper. 

Why make an exhibition?

We’ve always seen this as an emerging art form and from the very beginning we have been interested in exploring its potential beyond the browser. 

There are so many incredible net artists out there making work in this media and yet so much of it still lives in obscure enclaves of the internet.

We were keen to let the work breathe away from multiple open tabs, twitter, emails etc  and show the work in a completely new and unfamiliar way. By taking the tech into an unfamiliar space we hope to expose more of the magic and the playful nature of the medium.

Why use QR codes instead of, say, videos or screens themselves? 

We wanted to present the work as honestly as possible and stay faithful to the medium in which it was made. We had previously been frustrated at how gif art has been shown offline— converted to .mov files and played on television screens, hung like paintings. This is a digitally native medium and we feel the work ought to be presented accordingly.

We worked on a show specific augmented reality app with Plague Projects.  Similar to gifs, QR codes have been around for ages, but have only just reached a point of mass recognisability. QRs are like digital signposts they lead onto something else.  We want to exploit that familiarity and then exceed expectations with the outcome.

It also made sense to choose a medium that would allow visitors to interact with the work through their personal tech. The culture of taking photos, shooting video and interacting with the world through our phones means holding one up in our line of vision is almost second nature. And it felt like the right kind of subversion of the old way of doing things. In most exhibitions you’re not allowed to take photos, in ours its mandatory to view the work through your device’s camera.

Where do you feel the form is going? 

Last year Kim Asendorfs gif was the first to be projected into space - if that is any sort of sign to go by then, gifs are going everywhere! As more artists, brands and platforms embrace and support the media, we can only see it evolving further and further, which we are incredibly excited about. An outstanding gif can keep you mesmerized for the same amount of time as a short film but requires less active engagement.