Some GIFs of mine (along with a cast of thousands) are in a film screening Sunday, October 5, at UnionDocs Center for Documentary Arts in Brooklyn. The film (actually a projected video) is twohundredfiftysixcolors, directed by Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus, with curatorial assistant Theodore Darst, released last year, with a run time of 97 minutes. This is the New York premiere.
The directors have compiled some 3000 animated GIFs and arranged them sequentially. From the trailer and press release, it appears the GIFs have runs or riffs of similarity and dissimilarity: "categories" punctuated by non-sequiturs and jokes. It's not a documentary in the sense of having a voiceover explanation, captions, or interviews, but more a mega- or meta-artwork that happens to document a particular scene, or collection of scenes.
I'm otherwise committed on the day of the screening but am curious about audience reaction. That many GIFs for that long sounds like an experiment in human attention and endurance. It's also a test of the translation powers of media. Does a GIF retain its "GIFness" as a snippet of video? As a consumer of GIFs you, the viewer, have the option to watch, and allow to loop, for as long as you like. Here the directors have made decisions regarding the duration and "surroundings" of the GIFs. From the trailer it looks like GIFs were left at their original sizes relative to other GIFs. Was there any compression or anti-aliasing? Haven't studied closely to notice if differences in frame rates are respected or if that's even an issue as long as x number of GIF frames equals a proportional number of video frames. The "two hundred fifty six colors" refers to the number of colors available in the GIF format. Does the video have more colors, and again, does it make any difference? These kinds of questions are nerdy but matter if you're going to put a particular computer file format at the front and center of your project.