The Slow GIF Movement promotes calm and seeks to make the online space more inclusive with gently looping GIFs.
With The Slow GIF Movement, Rhiannon Armstrong seeks to bring hers and others’ lived experience of neurodiversity to an understanding of how GIF culture is currently increasing the hostility of online space.
Supported by The Space and Unlimited, the work launched on 15 August 2019, coinciding with World Relaxation Day. and the award-winning artist has created a series of calming, gently looping GIFs alongside an invitation to us all to take up the cause.
The Slow GIF Movement is offered as a public health intervention in the online world: the act of making and sharing them becomes an intervention in the environment; an act of solidarity with disabled people and others who find hostility in online social space, and a way to disseminate a collection of art works.
Armstrong is also working with the heart failure team at Saint George’s Hospital, to develop the GIFs as a form of therapy for heart failure patients, to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and breathlessness that can often lead to hospital readmission.
Artist Rhiannon Armstrong says:
Since 2015 when I first worked with GIFs as part of the launch of The International Archive of Things Left Unsaid, they have exploded to the extent that they are a form of language now.
There is a lot of richness there, especially around emotional expression, but at the same time, the aesthetic always feels the same: flashing, jolting, repetitive. As with public space on the streets, increasingly our online public spaces are being colonised by advertising that also flashes, jolts, and zaps your energy.
I began to wonder, what if we chose to highlight, create and put up on the walls a different kind of GIF culture to the one we have now, one with an access and wellbeing agenda. What if we created a Slow GIF Movement, what would that be like?
The Slow GIF Movement consists of a series of slow GIFs made by the artist and hosted on GIPHY and a brief, created in consultation with disabled internet users, inviting others to create their own Slow GIFs, in contribution to the movement.
Catch Rhiannon’s work on the road
- 27 July – 22 Sept 2019: The Big Screen, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.
- 27 July – 9 Aug 2019: in Portsmouth Libraries and at Aspex Gallery: Rhiannon will be artist in residence with ‘Poems Made from Words Found in the Bin’.
- 23 – 25 August 2019 Victorious Festival, Portsmouth: ‘Poems Made from Words Found in the Bin’
- 12-25 October 2019: Full collection at Brighton Digital Festival (exact dates tbc)
About this artist
Rhiannon Armstrong is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist making works with empathy, interaction, and dialogue at their core, often for unfiltered audiences. Conversation and collaboration are central to her practice: between makers of different disciplines, public contributors, and audiences.
Rhiannon is recipient of the Adrian Howells Award for Intimate Performance 2019 and is evolving a reputation for internet-situated work and innovative uses of digital mediums. She was awarded the inaugural commission for a web-based performance from The Space in 2015, regularly presents on audience-focussed design and integrated access, and will lead a Jerwood-funded training and commissioning process for interactive works using handheld technology in 2019.