Looping, Laughing and Longing: The Animated GIF in the Contemporary Online Environment
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The paper focuses on the widespread resurgence of the animated GIF in the contemporary mediascape. This outdated digital format’s current significance seems to lie in its ability to resolve the age-old dualism between still and moving images. The GIF’s looping structure is analysed as symptomatic of many facets of today’s online environment in relation to issues of embodiment, indexicality and desire. The GIF is investigated as an object of longing, a source of mirth, and a tool used to enrich online interactions. Finally, the performance of the self that it entails is interpreted as centred on the category of affect.
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