Laser-cut zoetropes from animated GIFs

Two recent NYU Interactive Technology Projects grads have launched a Kickstarter project called "Physical GIF" that will produce laser-cut zoetropes adapted from animated GIFs that can be played on a regular musical turntable illuminated with a strobe-light. They're hoping to produce a physical object that animated GIF artists can sell to support their work, which is generally distributed without charge online.

In addition to the Physical GIFs above, we've commissioned designs from four prominent animated GIF artists: Ryder Ripps, Nullsleep, Sara Ludy, and Sterling Crispin. Ryder Ripps is the founder of and one of the pioneers of animated GIF art. Ripps has shown his work widely and collaborated with a number of prominent artists including M.I.A. Learn more about Ryder: Nullsleep is a widely-reknowned chiptune musician and computer artist. He's one of the founders of 8bitpeoples and Blip Festival. He's performed all over the world. Learn more about Nullsleep: Sara Ludy is a musician and new media artist based in Los Angeles whose work has been shown around the country. Her work has been covered by Bad At Sports and Notes on a New Nature. Learn more about Sara: Sterling Crispin is a member of animated GIF collective Computers Club. His work deals with the concept of emptiness in Buddhism and the singularity and has been shown all over the country. Learn more about Crispin:

We've asked these artists to produce designs that push and expand the medium of the Physical GIF. We'll be working with them to explore a variety of different materials and processes that can be used to achieve surprising effects. The Physical GIFs they produce will only be available as a numbered limited edition of ten each. They will quickly become highly sought after collectors' items.

Half of the money from the sale of each Artist Edition GIF will go to the artist who designed it. We think that Physical GIFs are a great way to reward the incredible creativity and artistic achievement of animated GIF artists who give away so much of their work for free over the internet.

Physical GIF (via Waxy)



  1. GIFs – is there anything this 24-year-old format can’t do? (Besides full color, officially.)

  2. lovely idea but a 12″ platter doesn’t leave much play time. there are plenty of .gifs over 1 second. spiral?

  3. I went to the end of year show at NYU where there were lots of really fun interactive tech projects. Many of them were hacks of Xbox kinnects. There were many cool projects at this show, but my favorite was a very simple one using a kinnect–there was a darkened room, and you walked through a small field of light aroudn a non-existant chair, and a projection of its shadow (or a projection fo the light around the shadowed area) changed perspective (elongated and changed orientation) as you walked around it. I could imagine it would be really cool to fill a couple rooms with these set ups and to be able to walk around an entire house of invisible objects that only exist in shadow.

  4. I’m working on a concept “Physical Blog.” It’ll be on kickstarter later this year.

  5. why not commission cyriak to make some instead of those “well known” animated gif makers?

    1. Argh, it’s pronounced “Jif”!

      What is pronounced that way? If you are going to complain about something please be more specific so we all know what on earth you are talking about.

  6. Really cool idea and it was made even coolio near the end of the video where they acted like they were on the Tim and Eric Awesome Show great job.

  7. I still speak the acronym (“gee eye eff”)… how I’ve always said it since the mid-’90s. Now I gotta watch myself on the job whenever I say it, because nobody would understand what I’m saying. I know it depends on the file type, but I mean, does anybody call PDFs “p’diffs?” I sure hope not.

  8. I met the guy who came up with the GIF format at a CompuServe GraphicsGroup dinner in Columbus many (many) years ago. He pronounced it “Jif”, like the peanut butter. I don’t know what would be more authoritative than that.

  9. agreed. it seems like a one-off art project and not really deserving of a kickstarter page. i’d probably like it more if it they weren’t trying to pass it off as a product for sale

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