Conceived as means to send video-like content over extremely limited bandwidth of the late 1908s internet, the Animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) has evolved from tiny pixelated cartoonish media to evocative art at the same time becoming a primary way to extend the virality in social media of memes to ones that move.

After last week’s deep dive into Net Art, we return to maybe the more web pedestrian form… yes quirky Animated GIFs. Like memes, they can reach far and wide, but the same question looms- can we use them for more than generating a laugh?

The GIF.

That’s what we explore and do some creativity with this week. And we start our route towards our end of class project by conjuring up our own digital alchemist mentor to guide us.

They Are Back!

So Long Dancing Baby…

Like memes we studied previously we likely do not have to explain or describe what an Animated GIF is, do we?

Explain GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Believe it or not at one time this was cutting edge viral media:

A “vintage” GIF, Dancing Baby found on giphy. It’s so cute, and tiny

To learn more The GIF, we refer you to the NetNarr GIF Reader.

open the book!

Tweeting GIFs From the Rear View Mirror

Island Records Baby GIF by Bishop Briggs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Get ready to tweet out, with the #netnarr hashtag a response to:

What is a GIF you have seen most recently? Can you tweet it? Where/when did you see it? Who sent it? Do you know where the original image came from? Did you share ir or respond to it?

Jaw Dropping GIF Tweet-A-Thon

No Way Wow GIF by True and the Rainbow Kingdom - Find & Share on GIPHY

Now it is your turn to find some artistic or explanatory GIFs that do more than just aim for the laughs. That means none from giphy 😉 and we love giphy.

Explore the following collections to find GIFs that make you go OMG; find at least three to tweet out to the world (with the #netnarr tag) and include, beside the link, the reason why you think it is jaw dropping.

Studio Visit with Brian Lamb

Our studio visit this week is a conversation with educator and GIF finder extraordinaire Brian Lamb where he will share his perspective on the internet darkness factor and what he sees in animated GIFs.

Brian Lamb  (Mar 26 @5:00pm ET)

Brian Lamb (Mar 26 @5:00pm ET)

In our next Studio Visit we are in conversation with Brian Lamb "Re-Director" of the Learning Technology and Innovation team at Thompson Rivers University , in Kamloops, British Columbia. We are about 25 people -- we build and maintain ~700 fully...

GIF Making: Visiting The Arganee Coffee Shop

We put some digital media creation chops together along with some creativity. Let’s imagine we know a coffee shop where the most skilled digital alchemists hangout. It’s called “Arganee”… What happens when we visit there? Who will we meet? How do we approach an experienced digital alchemist to seek their wisdom?

We will try imagining this scene as a GIF.

GIF A Scene in the Digital Alchemists Coffee Shop

In our first Make, we will all use one of three video clips from various movies or shows (no knowledge of the original content is required), but each person gets to choose a key scene (just a few seconds) to “gifify”. It’s interesting to see which ones people pick.

You will create two GIFs from the same scene, one with overlay text and one without. What can you suggest in a GIF without any text?

This Make is opportunity to learn how to make an animated GIF from any YouTube video using the Giphy Gifmaker. As an experiment it’s interesting to see what portion of the same clips people will isolate from the source video to create a message in a GIF. Do this Make

Conjuring the Character of Your Digital Alchemy Mentor

As part of our leading up to the final Field Guide project, we are unfolding a new creative activity, something we have done before in #netnarr — asking you to create and breathe digital life into a character. Someone you will interact with, and who will interact in others.

So let us imagine a not so well known coffee shop. A place called “Arganee” where digital alchemists congregate and informally share ideas. You are shown the way there. So our first step is where you will create a persona for a digital alchemist who will be your mentor in investigating one dark corner of the internet.

The first step is giving them an identity, this is the task for the week.

Dealing with the depth and vagueness of the dark internet can be overwhelming. What if you could summon a mentor, a digital alchemist, that might guide you towards the light?

Imagine a coffee shop name “Arganee, filled with experienced alchemists who have figured out their own ways of transforming the internet darkness into shards of light. If you approach them respectfully, one alchemist character can assist you in becoming like them, a contributing member to this special society.

Start to imagine the special traits of your alchemist mentor. Do this Make

Tasks for The Week

Profile Picture for Alan Levine
Alan Levine feels weird writing about himself in the third person. A 1990s pioneer on the web and early proponent of blogging, he shares his ideas at His interests include web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), mocking MOOCs, daily photography, bending WordPress, and randomly dipping into the infinite river of the internet.


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