05 August 2016
Architectural Association, London
During Summer School 2016, Unit 5 investigated the GIF as a medium to construct space and ideas. In the time span of three weeks, 12 GIF-makers deconstructed and reconstructed the city of London as a 2 Seconds City. The work of Unit 5 has been recorded on this platform, where each day 12 GIFs were uploaded, soon to become viral in the virtual world. While constructing a personal archive of London, the Unit’s work has been focused on creating a new language.
Unit 5 transformed the purpose of the ever-present GIF from a medium of online entertainment to an architectural tool. As GIF-makers we are the avant-garde of a new culture. We embraced the social network with all of its contradictions: we sought low resolution imagery and increasing statistics of numbers of views and shares.
GIF-experimentation deals with motion and emotion. We expanded the narrative potential of the still image through the technique of looping, overlaying, merging and intertwining elements together. We understood digital technicalities as narrative devices, creating timeless and contextless spatial references. GIFs encapsulate not just a personal point of view, but also a moment in time. Every GIF absorbs the subtle changes of the city.
Our experiments triggered many questions: does a GIF have authorship? What is architectural production? How do new forms of communication and media change our understanding of the city? The work of our Summer School unit dug deeper into what we believe is the new way to create architecture: constructing paths of new space, compressing information into a couple of frames, and collectively constructing a mutual understanding of the city around us.
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