Micro-cinema of attractions: GIF art imageries and creative techniques

‘Micro-cinema of attractions – GIF art imageries and creative techniques’ is an exhibition project realized in Nicosia, Cyprus.


Nicolas Boillot


Curatorial Statement:

The experience of early silent cinema unfolds as a cabinet of curious cinematographic techniques and spectacular fictions. The exhibition draws an analogy between the concept of Tom Gunning ‘cinema of attractions’ on the early phase of silent cinema (1907-1913) and GIF art.

Cinema of attractions refers to the nascent features of silent films which captivated viewers with striking moving images, before its liaison with the diegetic formats of theatre and literature did take over the medium. It is an era of creative imagery productions, where exhibitionist and unconventional fictions were less of telling stories than experimenting with moving images in their extreme potential.

‘Micro-cinema of attractions’ explores new concepts of space and time which are being formed in contemporary GIF art, focusing less on typical storytelling modes and more on GIF artworks as self-enclosed aesthetic micro-worlds.

GIF art employs radical and unusual creative techniques and imageries, reinforcing obsolete cinematic and artistic forms, applying avant-garde concepts, freely copying, decontextualizing and defying or defining norms, while also generating a highly shareable content which is massively propagated through social networks.


‘Micro-cinema of attractions’         -Exhibition catalogue-                                       click to download

‘Micro-cinema of attractions’ is a collaboration between ARTos Foundation and the Moving Silence Platform. The project is taking place within the framework of the Con-temporary Urbanity programme as part of the broader initiative Artecitya Nicosia, with the support of the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Goethe-Institut and the Creative Europe Programme.

The exhibition catalogue is published in printed, electronic and interactive epub format (GIFs displayed in motion) (link to download). It presents GIF artworks of the invited and participated artists together with curatorial texts about GIF art and an insight into the programme that included a GIF exhibition in the space of ARTos Foundation, a drop in workshop on how to design analogue GIFs and an urban tour with pop-up projections of GIF art in the old city of Nicosia. With a view to foster GIF creation, the programme included also an open call and an award.

micro-cinema of attractions-nicolas boillot

micro-cinema of attractions-xaviera lopez

micro-cinema of attractions-rrrrrrrroll

GIF: Morphologies of a copyleft tale – Patterns & techniques of silent looping images


gif morphologies of a copyleft tale

“GIF: Morphologies of a copyleft tale – Patterns & techniques of silent looping images” was a digital exhibition realised as part of the activities of Moving Silence in Thessaloniki, the Berlin based network for contemporary silent film and live sound.

Visit the online exhibition version here.


Curatorial Statement:

GIFs can be seen as a contemporary form of super short silent films born in the cyberspace. The exhibition is an exploration of the creativity and design potential of GIFs in internet remix culture.

The underlying concept is based on Vladimir Propp’s book ‘Morphology of the folktale’ (late 20’s), where Propp studies the structures of anonymous traditional tales and introduces recurring patterns that come along a story formation.

GIFs reflect a contemporary analogous of collective narrative creations from a visual perspective, forming patterns when an initial scene or technique propagates through multiple derivative GIFs. The exhibition is about this particular feature of GIFs to visually express a short story in manifold ways, relating to an initial pattern or element.

‘GIF: Morphologies of a copyleft tale’ explores the viral mashup practices of GIFs based on their open-ended interpretations, highlighting its creative and distributive qualities. The exhibition itself reflects on the copyleft practices of GIF culture, drawing on the #GIFilter study project of HMKW University of Applied Sciences and the DER FILTER Team, by assigning the #GIFilter categories to the selected GIFs. The concept is framed by the accompanying #GIFilter poster wall where each GIF category is represented with its own poster.

‘GIF: Morphologies of a copyleft tale’ is non-material, realized as a pop-up digital exhibition in virtual format which exists only locally, within the physical space of CACT during the Moving Silence events. The exhibition infrastructure is coded and hosted on the open source file distribution tool Librarybox. The audience can easily enter the opened up local network (no internet access) and explore the exhibition in their personal devices (smartphones, tablets).

gif morphologies of a copyleft tale 1gif morphologies of a copyleft tale 2


Artistic direction and curation of international film program by Matthias Fritsch (co-founder of Moving Silence)
Music program editing & coordination in Thessaloniki by Eirini Papakonstantinou (curator at SMCA
Technical support for audio and video by MSpirit
GIF Exhibition by Mariana Ziku

The exhibition is a collaboration with the HMKW University of Applied Sciences and the DER FILTER Team in Berlin. The digital infrastructure is put together and hosted on the open source software Librarybox.

A production with the financial and organizational support of Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki. Co-organized with the State Museum of Contemporary Art (SMCA) & the Contemporary Art Center in Thessaloniki (CACT).

Jiggling Golems, the art of GIF: An ‘immaterial’ exhibition for silent moving images


Jiggling Golems explored the cinematic qualities of the GIF medium, the narrative potential of very short moving images and their semiotics. In the context of the Festival for Silent Film Culture, the GIF art exhibition expanded the silent film format in the networked digital space. The project was realised as an ‘immaterial’ exhibition in html format, hosted within the open-source local networking toolkit ‘Piratebox’ and traveling along the venues. The audience could access the exhibition only on-site through their mobile devices.

Venue: Goethe-Institut Athen, Circuits and Currents, Athens, Greece, March 2015
Partners: Braunschweig University of Art (Germany), Athens School of Fine Arts, Moving Silence Network (Berlin-Athens), Circuits and Currents (Athens)
Fund: Goethe-Institut Athen
Art director: Matthias Fritsch


Flash fiction curatorial text:

Gifs, the stray protocols breed inside the dot matrix. Once liberated from their corporate pimps, this batch of hyper-hookers was destined to hangout in the downtown of stocked networked space. Rambling along the data streams, these jiggling golems were soon crowdsurfing in every corner of the alleged Web 2.0, triggering the reticulated, blurring the realtime, entering our retinal trans consciousness.

When Walter Benjamin referred to the mythοlogy of modernity he identified it through an excessive visual complex, dialectical images of a dissipated externalized as well as internalized fictitious realm. Non linear narrativity and spatial dispersion at the borderlines of contingency and experience. Gifs fabulate inside the collective effervescence, mutating the spectacle into detached fickle imageries, an abundant realm of viral correspondence infecting our most tacit, impulsive, trivial and absurd, glimpses of imaginary.

In the uncanny cyber valley, timespace circulates in inhuman routes. A friction of agitated semblances, rubbing against each other inside a narrative sludge. Visual residues get mutated into events that once were fiction, into fiction that was events, in an infinite mashup of dislocated visions. History as we know it relegates into just another story, one of many that transcendent the actual facts of our newtonian space. Gifs blossom in this ecology of fused multi-narratives and hyperlinked projections, catching up in the net fleeting units of a vast ocular feedstock, stimulating junctures, recontextualizing the ruptures, assembling and rendering jargons, flocking semiotics for the rapture of the gaze, an orgy of the sussed but inexplicable.

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gif1: artist Nicolas Boillot Through custom code and user interface environment

gif2: artist Vince McKelvie

gif3: The Insects’ Christmas by Vladislav Starevich (1911). Vladislav Starevich was a Russian and French stop-motion animator notable as the author of the first puppet-animated film. He also used insects and other animals as protagonists of his films