Is the World’s Largest Piece of GIF Art a Total Hoax?

The mural, as seen from above.

The “world’s largest piece of GIF art”: impressive artistic achievement or total hoax? This is the question Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones ponders in a recent column regarding the work of British street artist Insa.

Insa specializes in the aptly named art form of GIF-iti, which are basically large murals that are then filmed to create GIFs. In order to create this “gigantic” one in Brazil, he painted a repetitive horizontal graphic image large enough to be seen from space, which was then filmed over two days from a satellite to create an animated GIF. The project was sponsored by Ballantine’s, the whiskey company.

Jones rightly points out that “It seems inaccurate to call the gif gigantic. Rather the process of making it involved a colossal image.” He continues, “This is the kind of bollocks PR companies think is art. It was this or another vodka-fountain ice sculpture.”

He concedes, however (and we agree) that while this project is a bit of an over-hyped misnomer (it’s not the world’s largest GIF; it’s the world’s largest painting to be turned into a GIF), it is an example of the opportunities that digital media affords to artists (see A Brief History of Animated GIF Art, Part One, and parts Two, Three, and Four).

“One day,” Jones writes, “a real artist will follow in the footsteps of today’s pioneers and create a digital masterpiece that is profound and true.”

We imagine that the future digital masterpiece to which he refers will not be sponsored by a spirits company.


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