Trust Focused by Daylen Seu

GIFs are a flat circle

We teamed up with GIPHY Arts to commission a new GIF series!

What do GIFs as a practice look like today? 

With support from GIPHY Arts, Rhizome commissioned ten artists to make GIFs, or GIF-adjacent works. We invited artists that don’t maintain exclusive GIF-based practices, but whose work is engaged with digital art and technology, as well as analogue media such as illustration, painting, writing, and kinetic sculpture.

While some artists chose to respond to the nostalgia that early internet GIFs often evoke, other artists situate their GIFs within complex worlds of the present, the GIF becoming a tool that helps unfold a larger narrative. Others experimented with the medium to make sense of physical projects, the GIF serving as a digital interpretation of a physical artwork or phenomenon. These works represent only a sliver of the countless ways that artists are continuing to experiment with GIFs as sites for creative expression today.  

GIFs are available to share on GIPHY and have been accessioned to the Rhizome ArtBase—our archive of over 2,200 works of born-digital art. 

Keep Scrolling to view GIFs are a flat circle, with works by Balfua, Taína Cruz, Scott Gelber, Mas Guerrero, Teng Yung Han, Liby Hays, Daylen Seu, Nichole Shinn, Tyler Cala Williams, and Harrison Wyrick. 

GIFs are a flat circle is curated by Kayla Drzewicki, Program Coordinator, Rhizome.

Content Warning: A work in this project contains nudity. 


Balfua, Gozentilade Fuckiffilai above the Mountain

View the work on ArtBase

“Balfua creates artwork from within his fantastical spirit world, the Sayssiworld. The Sayssiworld is populated by personified sculptures called slollas. In this 3D video-painting, an ancient, mischievous, and monstrous slolla known as Gozentilade Fuckiffilai hovers above a lone mountain waiting to surprise unsuspecting travelers.“
Taína Cruz

Taína Cruz, Motor Hound

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“Motor Hound is a sculptural object that incorporates a rotary motor, a rubber Labrador dog head, and an oversized tennis ball. I wanted to use this opportunity to integrate one of my physical objects into the realm of internet art.

The inspiration for this GIF stemmed from the repetitive motion of the physical rotary motor, reminiscent of a looping GIF. The motor's movement resembled that of a dog, and I found it amusing to envision it persistently attempting to run after the oversized tennis ball.”
Scott Gelber

Scott Gelber, source vision

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“Source Vision refers to an experience I had visualizing ‘the source of everything.’ This work is an attempt to illustrate that vision wrapped in the aesthetic of my early experiences, creating digital art in 1-bit painting programs like MacPaint.”
Mas Guerrero

Mas Guerrero, Conversation Pit

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“This GIF is a ghost story, a void of failed Feng Shui. Like the mock-up renderings created by contractors when a new home or public space is being built; unnatural spills of light and perspectives make very little sense when human images are implemented. Structurally palatial architecture harking back to a vapid but inornate Rococo interior. You're seeing just the smallest snippet of a labyrinthian, suburban American home; needlessly sprawling but spiritually claustrophobic. Inanimate objects working as sponges of extreme human emotion, fumbling to grasp at a sense of comfort and status via possessions and excess. An "if these walls could talk" scenario with the tension softened, reckoned with by digestible cartoon depictions of manmade sadness and profitable unease. One of the many Pyramids erected in the Pyramid Scheme of Western Exceptionalism, the ones getting emptier, decaying every day. All this is a vulnerable, subconscious projection, haunting not only what occupies the home, but how the home ultimately functions.”

Teng Yung Han

Teng Yung Han, Note

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“She contemplates themes about movement, only moving forward by going backward.”
Liby Hays

Liby Hays, Ambidextrous Pantograph

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“A pantograph is a mechanical linkage for duplicating and enlarging plans. This version is anthropomorphized, showcasing the typical human left hand/right hand discrepancy in fine motor control.”
Daylen Seu

Daylen Seu, Trust Focused

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“Trust Focused is an animated GIF that came to be from sketchbook explorations and my own feelings on animating. When overthinking and overplanning leads to barely anything.”
Tyler Cala Williams

Tyler Cala Williams, Untitled

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“Embodiment for some can feel like a kind of cosmic sentence. Unwillingly, stuffed into confines, we find ourselves sliding and rolling around hoping to discover at least a few comfortable positions to rest in. It’s never really comfortable, I know that, well at least using the folding instructions they gave me. It's a fucked obligation, a sisyphus task no(body) can escape from. Bending, tucking, and folding what is seen is the best we got, it is the best of what we’ve been given. Reflecting on the words of Akwaeke Emezi in Dear Senthuran (“They had their reasons, but you can’t keep things like us folded for too long, the creases can’t hold. I know you’ve felt the seams bursting, too, how much it hurts, how terrifying we are, they must’ve folded us for a reason, we’re going to hurt the humans if we expand fully, we’re going to burn everyone we care about, we burn too bright, it’s not safe to exist, we’re dangerous, we’re dangerous, we’re dangerous!”) disillusioned me. Comfortability isn’t an option for something like me. Just constant motion.”

Harrison Wyrick

Harrison Wyrick, face, spider, tomato

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“The ideas for most of my art come to me seconds before I fall asleep and I usually have to frantically grab my phone and draw them quickly in my notes-app before I forget. From the start of this project I knew I wanted to draw neon green space alien freaks cause they've been on my mind a lot lately.”
Nichole Shinn

Nichole Shinn, Feeling Something…

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“This GIF is an homage to the goofy, quirky and sometimes dark-humored early internet low-poly animated 3D GIFs. In a culture of artificial happiness and putting on a smile to get through the day while the world is burning, allowing yourself to feel tough emotions is critical.”