The internet’s favorite grandchild, GIPHY, hosted a curated pop-up exhibit of gifs in NYC on Sunday. Titled Loop Dreams, the one-day-only exhibition provided an opportunity for the public to experience the work of 25 of GIPHY’s favorite artists through interactive installations, holographic posters, projections, and virtual reality–but all IRL.
In addition to the GIF museum, there was also a panel discussion about GIFs, lead by Rhizome, loosely centered around exploring “the GIF’s usage as vernacular communication and artistic medium as parallel trajectories in the history of the file format.” In other words, GIPHY wholeheartedly believes in GIFs as an artistic medium. Part of their intention with Loop Dreams was to alter the widely held notion of GIFs as existing merely as a file format rather than a multipurpose medium, as well as to expand conceptions about what GIFs can do and be.
Indeed, GIFs truly have evolved over time. Whereas they might have once existed solely as punny meme-fodder and an easy way to repost dramatic hamster reaction shots, their applicability and artistic value has grown exponentially. As Loop Dreams showed, now they can even have a place in museums and galleries alongside more classic highbrow artistic mediums.
Below are a few select GIFs from the artists featured in the exhibit, meant to push the boundaries of what a GIF can be in 2016 (and beyond!):