Gif walls are the natural evolution of one gif (which is awesome) to a group of them (moar awesome!) that either depict a sequence from a video clip or are related to one another in theme or by quotes plastered over them. Confused? Here’s an example of Kirsten Dunst’s reaction to director Lars Von Trier’s controversial comments about Nazis in a Cannes Q & A.
Besides allowing you to dissect every movement of every facial muscle in gleeful detail, the most interesting thing about gif walls is the way they chop up a story into simultaneously replaying parts. Think about it: when you’re watching a video, you’re ingesting the information of that video in linear time. It makes sense because you hear the words in order, see the images succeed one another in logical fashion, and thus extract a sense of understanding from whatever you have been shown. You also are at the mercy of whatever sequence the editor, writer, and director have chosen to show you.
With a gif wall, however, you have the capability of seeing linear time AT ONCE.
I’ll say that again. You’re watching events -- which as they occurred, were recorded, and played back all happened in linear, sequential time -- in a wall of images that says, “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!”
It’s amazing that the human mind can scan a gif wall and get the gist of an event instantly. I can look at a gif wall of clips from a season of a show, for example, and feel differing, opposite emotions near simultaneously. Or I can watch a set of gifs that depict the main theme of a movie. Realistically though, my eye sees and my brain processes one thing at a time. I may move from one to the next with imperceptible speed, and I may do so at the speed I choose, but even while scanning multiple pictures they must enter my consciousness in some defined order. Does this lessen the impact of the events depicted? Does it compromise the integrity of the individual emotions to experience layered ones instead? Does it change our perception of a canonical story to view it out of sequence – indeed, in whatever sequence we should desire?
I do not know the answers to these questions, but I think it’s a fascinating development that we would deliberately dissect, reorder, and reconsume our media. Talk about personalized.