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Perpetual Patchwork Quilt

Ephemeral Web Art : Perpetual Patchwork Quilt

by Tom Greenbaum

A patchwork quilt of animated GIF as a representation of ephemeral web art. It is time-dependent, almost non-repeating, cannot be printed, and cannot be viewed in its entirety. The pattern is not the result of coding (besides straight-forward HTML). Designs based upon this principle are easily developed by anyone who can create an animated GIF.

The pattern shown here will perform 2.68 x 10^16 cycles before it repeats. Assuming one second per cycle, then you will need to view it for 850,223,044 years in order to see it repeat the initial state. This is due to the relative time synchronization of the sequence of the frames in each animated GIF file.

This quilt requires one HTM file and 10 GIF files; a total of 11 files (only 55,582 bytes). The animated GIFs are arranged in a patchwork pattern using an HTML table. While not esthetically ground-breaking (future versions are certain to be more eye-pleasing), the concept of creating a non-code based, almost-perpetual, non-repeating pattern is significant.

From Simple To Complex - There is no sophisticated coding weaving this quilt. It is actually woven very simply with ten unique animated GIF files, each with a different number of frames based on a series of primes. Therefore, to calculate the number of cycles before it repeats you need to multiply all these numbers together: 29 x 31 x 37 x 41 x 43 x 47 x 51 x 53 x 59 x 61 = 2.68 x 10^16

Interesting layered effects are easily created by using simple HTML formatting options. For example, animated GIFs may be configured as the page background, in a table background, in a cell background and inserted in the cell itself. This represents at least four levels of layering. In addition, tables can be inserted within tables.