Welcome to the Internet’s GIF-Only Social Network

Gifpumper.com lives in an odd space, somewhere between social network, Second Life and a massive Tumblr stream. Developed by Eyebeam resident Slava Balasanov, Gifpumper.com allows users to create three-dimensional pages of two-dimensional elements, including text, images, video and music. Find them on the Internet, drop ’em in, and rotate them on the XYZ coordinate plane. The piece debuted at New York City’s Eyebeam Art & Technology Center in February 2012. The social network itself continues where it began on gifpumper.com, where all are welcome. We took a tour through the site, and welcome you to come along and then check it out for yourself.

After creating username and password on the site, users have full reign to wander about and check out what other users are up to. The main page shows the active GIF creation rooms, a feed of who’s doing what on the site. There’s also a tiny chat message room in the lower right-hand corner for chatting with the other active users.

Stumbling into one of these GIF creation rooms is reminiscent of wandering into AOL chat rooms of the late 1990s. It’s unclear who is going to be in there or what they’ll be doing. Users must take a chance on the room, based on its cover photo and how many users have “loved” it with pixelated hearts. The site encourages users to transform into into high-tech hunter-gatherers, finding and building mini GIF creations. Some GIF creation rooms are private, so users can visit but not collaborate. Each room has a tag of public, semi-public or private. It’s like a choose your own adventure novel.

I accidentally wandered into the room smoke_weed, where I hoped to contribute a GIF of Snoop Dogg, the first image that comes to mind when I think weed and the Internet. Unfortunately, that room was private. I instead choose to click the little heart button (love instead of like, you know?); so I also got to see who else loved that room.

Super Mario clouds a la Cory Arcangel pop up a lot on homepage of gifpumper.com. The public room mario displays rainbow-colored flashing clouds slowly scrolling across the screen; a radically colored zebra gallops near the top left-hand corner. Nearby, a highly-pixelated Mario flies on bright green Yoshi. A square coded with rainbow colors displays the upside down letters and number “3. THE PIECE NEED NOT BE BUILT,” while sharp cuts of blue screen with the original white Mario clouds drift on by. In just a few hours of collaboration from visitors to the site, this room might look completely different.

Gifpumper.com is a fascinating space for creating and collaborating on GIFs, and for discovering other GIF lovers. This GIF-love moment could have been fulfilled by visiting Downcast Eyes at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where 50+ artists and culture-makers displayed their homespun GIFs. But since that moment has passed, why not jump on gifpumper.com and make a GIF, and then collaborate with others?

Images via Eyebeam and GIFPumper.com.

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