Academic journal article Afterimage

Twohundredfiftysixcolors

Academic journal article Afterimage

Twohundredfiftysixcolors

Article excerpt

BY ERIC FLEISCHAUER AND JASON LAZARUS 2013/97 MIN.

Premiered at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center in April 2013, Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus's twohundredfiftysireders (2013) is a 97-minute silent film made entirely of animated GIFs that the artists collected for approximately two years_ It is an experimental film about GIFs, and the title refers to the number of colors on the file format's palette--a title that hints at the film's intention to explore and present the aesthetic possibilities of the GIF. Since its introduction in 1987, the Graphics Interchange Format has become a convenient and ubiquitous tool for making memes and simple animations. Featuring some three thousand GIFs Found on the intcrnet, created, or donated by others, twohundredfiflysixcolors not only functions as an archive of sorts, but also offers "an expansive and revealing portrait of what has become a zeitgeist medium," as the film's website proclaims.

Fleischauer and Lazarus did not randomly splice together the found GIFs, but compiled them carefully and smartly according to their contents and styles. Thus organized, the images in the film help us begin to see how the GIF medium has evolved and how it reflects our intcrnet culture. The film provides an immense pleasure of discovery. For example, the film opens by showing dozens of different animated graphics that indicate "loading" on the internet. Computer users encounter loading signs and messages several times a day, but the film amazes by revealing how various, inventive, or silly the designs have been and can bc. At the Chicago premiere, as this sequence of loading images continued on the screen, the audience burst into sighs (immediately responding to the loading signs) and then into laughter (at our collective impatience). …

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