1,000 Year Old GIF Will Outlive Us All

In the Internet-dominated landscape that we live in, an almost daily occurrence is staring at a GIF, waiting for it to restart, and realizing it’s way longer than you originally anticipated. Now imagine doing that for the next 1,000 years.

That’s what Juha van Ingen and Janne Särkelä’s collaborative art piece AS Long As Possible is: a 1,000 year, slow-moving GIF. Inspired by John Cage’s “As Slow As Possible,” which is a tempo-less score being played by a church organ in Halberstadt, Germany, the artist and web developer created a GIF moving at a speed of one frame every minutes for 48,140,288 frames. Each frame is simply a number — minimalistic, white on black — from 1 to 48,140,288.  However, unlike Cage’s timeless organ, the piece has no end as when it hits the final frame it will loop back to the beginning.

“We chose to make the loop 1,000 years-long because it is a duration people can still relate to, and yet, it is long enough to stimulate the person to think about time in a way which we normally don’t,” van Ingen said in an interview with Hyperallergic. “If nurturing a GIF loop even for 100 — let alone 3,000 years — seems an unbelievable task, how much remains of our present digital culture after that time?”

The actual GIF begins in 2017 to correlate with the 30th anniversary of the invention of the GIF and also Finland’s Centennial of Independence, but prints and a preview file are currently on display at FISH Gallery in Helsinki. The GIF itself could be projected, shown on small monitors, be in a secret location, be livestreamed, or live entirely online come 2017. Right now, van Ingen is still trying to finalize a location for the GIF — preferably somewhere that will still exist in 1,000 years.

With 1,000 years of GIF-life ahead of us, there’s no excuse not to see this GIF at some point in your — comparatively — short, short life.

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