If there was one digital medium that caught the attention of the online public in the past five years or so, it is obviously the Graphical Interchange Format, commonly referred to as the GIF. Initially employed as a file format for simple animations, over time it became the medium of choice for many artists and creatives to present their work thanks to improved bandwidths and easier storage on social media platforms.
Over the past year or so we have seen GIF art implemented in mainstream gallery spaces such as The Museum of Moving Image or Tate Britain’s 1840s GIF Party, or by way of Augmented Reality, presenting works at physical spaces through a smartphone device via barcodes, such as Rua Red’s Glitch Festival or GIF Art blog 15 Folds exhibition at the Lyst Gallery.
Back in 2012 the Photographers Gallery, London, was smart enough put together a major show about the format ‘Born In 1987‘, but before this all became fashionable in the art world, an organizer and artist from Toronto saw the potential of integrating this format into real-world events and collaborated with another artist whose medium of choice is the GIF itself, curating a collection of works created on a computer by artists from around the world, and projected on walls to accompany the surroundings.
The show was called ‘Sheroes’, a monthly event started in 2011 to 2012 that each month focused on female pop-icons ranging from Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Yoko Ono, Madonna, Dusty Springfield or Dolly Parton, a range of artists whose distinct talents enriched pop culture, a “League of Legendary Ladies”. Here I will talk to Rea McNamara and Lorna Mills about the origins of this emerging scene and how it all started.