fyi [links, may 2016]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

TGIF: A New Dataset and Benchmark on Animated GIF Description
More GIF science, hooray! This paper examines techniques for automatic GIF description. Two side notes: The authors see this as (only?) one step towards automatic video description. And this research was supported by Yahoo (and others) – might Flickr plan some new GIF features?

At first I wondered why I found so many articles about GIFs during the last weeks, but then I quickly became bored of the many mentions of Giphy. They apparently are on promotion tour to pursue their wet dream of total GIF domination – sadly I’m not joking.

Here is one of many recent portraits of how Giphy emerged, peppered with some context from the current situation of GIF culture. The following quote points out the most important observation: ”If Giphy succeeds, it could represent a massive shift in the way GIFs are produced and shared, effectively moving GIFs from a mostly bottom-up expression of the Internet counterculture to a mostly top-down product led by the marketing agendas of big media companies and brands.“

How the GIF Is Taking Over the World“ – Seriously, can nobody talk about GIFs without drowning in superlatives anymore? Anyway, this is one of these articles that sums up GIF trends from the last year or so and I actually only link to it because of this: “That interactive future for photography is not yet here, but GIFs are perhaps the harbingers of what’s the come.“ Well then, bring it on:)

From Zoetrope to GIF and back
This article follows the traces of Zoetrope-like artefacts in the GIF-dominated world of animations nowadays.

Twitter’s ‘GIF Party’ Is Just a Sneaky Way for the Site to Promote Itself“ – The headline raises hopes for a critical media analysis, but after a short introduction the author presents… a list of his favourite GIFs from Twitter. m( Or should we rather call it Videos?

MEMEWARS: of gif campaigns and gamer politics“ was a short talk at the re:publica about the approach to use visual communication for political activism and what effects have to be concerned when trying to do that.

In the first 20 minutes of this ”Reply All“ podcast episode, you can hear the well researched story about the old GIF website Animation Plaza, that was full of obscure GIFs.

This last link is a German article that contains one aspect I’d like to mention here. German scholar Daniela Wentz, who was interviewed for this article, describes the ”Distinktionskraft“ of GIFs (one might translate it as distinction potency). By comparing GIFs to emoji, she highlights how the enormous variety of GIFs may give you an exact expression for a very specific emotion. This way, GIFs include very fine nuances that go far beyond a rather simple smiley. Of course, we all knew that, but it’s nice to have an analytical term for it.

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