I think it’s time we accept that the GIF has become our symbol for this moment in the digital age. Fleeting, repetitive, ephemeral and yet always the same, the GIF captures the essence of a generation built on the internet: a never-ending loop of recycled information spreading on and on and on, ad infinitum.
Giphy’s GIF GJ feels like the chaotic logical conclusion to millennial remix culture. Deriving from the cult of the mashup, GIF GJ combines digital DJing with GIFs by replacing a musical playlist with a soundboard of animated graphics. According to Giphy, the software is a call to all “self-acclaimed party DJs, music lovers, and playlist-making royalty” because “your day and your grooves, just got better.”
After picking your favorite “groove” you want to DJ alongside, you can then choose from one of several themed GIF playlists. From “cat party” to “trippy feels,” each letter on your keyboard transforms into a different GIF, while the spacebar is supposed to help control the tempo. As Giphy explains, you can pick any kind of music you want to overlay on top of the animated images, even “if metal is more your flavor, just throw on Megadeth’s ‘Symphony of Destruction’ and set it to a cute compilation of fuzzy cats—just do you.” Yes, I’ll “do me,” expressing myself creatively by pressing designated keys which play GIFs that other people made.
Interestingly, in the “throwback” playlist, one GIF features footage of someone (almost sexually) inserting a cartridge into an Atari, demonstrating a commonality between GIF and gaming culture, both preferring a warm stew of superficial nostalgia over any sort of new content.
“We’re always trying to make that GIF experience 100%” says Giphy, as if those words mean anything whatsoever. “Music tops the list of ‘things that make us feel good.’ And you deserve an experience curated just for you.”
Do we, Giphy? Do we really?
You can get lost in the wormhole of millennial remix culture with the Beta for GIF GJ here.