This is a snippet from a longer comment by Sally McKay, hopefully it's OK to take out of context:
Something I like about so-called remix culture is that participants are artists & viewers at the same time, so the artworld hierarchies and power structures carry way less weight. Unlike relational aesthetics projects in art galleries — where the participants basically just provide the anonymous person-power to manifest the famous artist's idea — GIFs exist in a culture with different stakes, where authorship is not always an important contextual feature. Sometimes authorship is important, especially when GIF artists build up an oeuvre, and that's cool too. Because the same GIF can live in multiple online contexts (forums, blogs, artists' archival pages, etc), the whole practice is nice and fluid.
m.river, responding to another aspect of McKay's comment (that his work was "techno-utopian"--read the whole thread), says that, in making a particular artwork in the late '90s, he had an "...interest in the ability for people to exchange/ share/ modify/ delete an artwork within a network environment. It was a way to say that an internet, or any digital artwork for that matter, could be an active rather than passive object. It was, and is, about a relation of active viewers and active artist."
In an email, Michael Manning says that he doesn't necessarily agree with
the argument that in 1997 networked art really worked in a remix culture fashion. Perhaps images were transferred and could be modified, however most classic net.art is pretty passive in the sense [that] although you may be interacting with the site or work (say Shulgin's 'Form Art'), the user isn't really creating anything as they experience it and if they are, the terms of that creation are dictated by the original artist instead of you posting a GIF to dump then me saving it and doing whatever I want with it. I guess some of the BBSs and some of Bunting's stuff had participation, but it was still under the guise of some type of pre-decided control put in place by the artist, again not really collapsing producer/viewer all that much. Almost like web based version of gallery relational aesthetics.