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Today, Paddle8 and Tumblr presented the first-ever all-GIF exhibition. It was held in Miami’s Design District in an unassuming warehouse behind an unassuming steel door. The art show, called “Moving the Still: A Festival of GIFS,” is a showcase of the popular online medium with the object of “legitimizing the GIF,” as Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes puts it. The GIFs were selected from over 3,500 submissions powered by Tumblr and curated by the likes of Michael Stipe, Rodarte, Richard Phillips, RoseLee Goldberg, James Frey, and Ryan Trecartin, among others.
The space, a massive 40,000 square foot warehouse (where the next installment of Iron Man was being filmed a month ago) built out by Milk Studios and sponsered by smartwater, is a maze of tall white walls onto which the GIFS are projected. It’s a silent compendium of a wide range of styles of GIFS, from ones that are of natural objects (the sped-up death of a leaf) to the irreverent (a neon sign declaring “bless you Taco Bell”) to an homage to analog (a paused VHS tape). And of course, the collection would not be complete without the obligatory GIF of a kitten.
Whitewall strongly encourages a trip to see the festival. The curators have painstakingly compiled a show worth seeing. The GIF, at once a quick and continuous art form, is relatively new and so accessible it has largely flown under the art world radar until now. The show opened to the public yesterday and is open through Saturday, December 8. We suggest seeing the exhibit Friday December 7 from 8pm until midnight, when there will be a party, open to the public, with DJs, food trucks, and, of course, the GIFS. All the artworks in the festival can be seen online at movingthestill.paddle8.com, and all 3,500 submissions can be seen at movingthestill.tumblr.com.