Museum Exhibit of Popular GIFs Explores the Moving Image as Gesture

Animated GIFs have emerged as a new form of lexicon for the internet age. A recent museum exhibition highlighted 37 of the most popular reaction GIFs on the internet.

What's the Latest?


Perhaps there's more to Michael Jackson eating popcorn than meets the eye. You may have encountered the famous MJ GIF around the internet, whether embedded in a Buzzfeed article or posted on a message board in a "this is gonna' be good" manner. You might also have seen it in an art exhibition if you happened to be in New York last month and paid a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. That's right, a museum exhibition of GIFs. Don't give me that look. I'm serious. The Library of Congress recently interviewed the exhibition's curator, Jason Eppink, for its blog The Signal.

What's the Big Idea?

What makes GIFs so fascinating to Eppink is how they serve as a visual means of communication outside the realm of normal language, an idea articulated well in the exhibit's subtitle: Moving Image as Gesture. You can see why it makes sense then that a museum dedicated to the moving image would be the perfect place to explore the medium. The GIF's growing popularity leads one to believe that its stock is likely to rise in the eyes of artists and linguists around the world. Eppink's exhibit featured a short canon of 37 of the internet's most popular GIFs, assembled with help from posters on the website Reddit.

Although the interview mentions it, Eppink did not take a stand on the most controversial issue surround GIFs -- the pronunciation. It it "jiff" or "giff?" Perhaps that's the stuff of a future exhibition...

Read more at The Museum of the Moving Image

Read the interview with Jason Eppink on the Library of Congress' The Signal blog.

Photo credit: Stuart Miles/Shutterstock

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less