As art increasingly shifts towards the realm of the digital, should we rather opt to stay in and consider our electrified screens as the new galleries, or should we move this newly crafted digital art into classic gallery spaces? Sharleen Hollick, who’s behind a brand new exhibition for .gifs, believes in the latter.

Not sure what a .gif is? Sometimes animated, sometimes not, and often funny, they’re those looped moving images you always see on your timelines. First debuting about 25 years back, the ‘graphics interchange format’ or .gif, has come a long way over the years, and now it has its very own exhibition in Cape Town, curated by Exhibit.gif.

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A Cape Town based creative collective, Exhibit.gif is the collaborative creation of Sharleen Hollick, Linley Rall, Jean-Jacques Rossouw and Julian Brookstone who see .gifs as increasingly vital forms of communication, and artistic mediums which deserve to have their own artistic spaces offline.   

“When art exists online, it can be a fleeting and cluttered experience. The viewing of .gifs is often a passive interaction, stumbled on between browsing through multiple web pages. We wanted to put them in a space where they would be the focus,” says Sharleen. “Don’t get us wrong, the internet culture around .gifs is what made them such a popular digital format and allowed this exhibition to happen, but when you take them offline and place them in a new context, you start to think about them differently.”

'Some Mindless Destruction' by Gerhard Human
‘Some Mindless Destruction’ by Gerhard Human

Sharleen and her team hope to, through the one night experimental exhibit, create a new appreciation for .gifs and the artists behind their creation. “It’s a piece of art, just like a sculpture or an oil painting,” says Sharleen. “Someone sat up late at night, painstakingly stitching those frames together and considering each movement. Many artists are experimenting with, and pushing the boundaries of the format. It’s a great way to combine technology and art.”

The Exhibit.gif team are already thinking ahead to future exhibitions focused on select themes and creative disciplines, but for now, catch their debut exhibition tonight at 15 Arthur’s Road, Sea Point in Cape Town, and keep up to date with future events on their Facebook and Tumblr pages. 

'0670' by Edwin de Swardt
‘0670’ by Edwin de Swardt
'ANIMALSDANCE' by Inka Kendzia
‘ANIMALSDANCE’ by Inka Kendzia
'DJ Doowap' by Nichole Enslin
‘DJ Doowap’ by Nichole Enslin
'BG_Animation_D' by Jeanne Fourie
‘BG_Animation_D’ by Jeanne Fourie
'Patchouli' by Lucy Hazard and Soo
‘Patchouli’ by Lucy Hazard and Soo
'Mountain' by Mike Scott
‘Mountain’ by Mike Scott

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