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Curator's Note:

Off Book, now entering its second season, is a web-only series from PBS Arts that expands the definition of art. Each episode explores a cutting-edge genre that invites you to engage with the artists and creative process.

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Exhibition Playlist

Off Book: Animated GIFs

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GIFs are one of the oldest image formats used on the web. Throughout their history, they have served a huge variety of purposes, from functional to entertainment. Now, 25 years after the first GIF was created, they are experiencing an explosion of interest and innovation that is pushing them into the terrain of art. In this episode of Off Book, we chart their history, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are evolving the form into powerful new visual experiences. 


Patrick Davison, MemeFactory

TopherChris, Tumblr

Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader, Reed+Rader

Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, Cinemagraphs

Story Development:

Mike Rugnetta, Internet Culture Researcher, MemeFactory

Music by:

Mindthings | Space Frequencies|Casanelli | Shamil Elvenheim | Kevin Macleod

Produced by Kornhaber Brown

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