How The Rebirth Of The GIF Screws Up Authorship
This MIT-built app creates crowdsourced, time-lapse animations from individual snapshots which aren’t quite still images but aren’t video either. The renaissance of the GIF is also blowing up distinctions between time, place, and creator—all because you want to animate your cat.
Apps like Vine and Cinemagram have blown up what used to be a simple distinction between still images and video. Now an MIT app project has made the line even blurrier by using content created by different authors, officially enabling users to kick off a video-ish experience created by no one in particular, at no particular point in time.
The result of these authorless GIF-like animations is fast-moving “flipbook” animations that show a single location through the eyes of many. Subsequent photos at the location add frames automatically, creating a collaborative record of the spot over time. While playful photography is fun, the project’s larger impact is to demonstrate an interface for collaboratively documenting spaces over time—without much deliberate action on the behalf of anyone.