The Slow GIF Movement: A Project By Rhiannon Armstrong

The internet can often feel like an increasingly difficult space to navigate. On top of online arguments and abusive comments, even the images used in the digital space can feel hostile, with flashing, jumpy GIFs causing particular problems for those who are neurodivergent.

To counter this, award-winning artist Rhiannon Armstrong, supported by The Space and Unlimited, has launched The Slow GIF Movement – an art and activism project promoting calm in public spaces, both on and offline.

Rhiannon brings hers and others’ lived experience of neurodiversity to an understanding of how GIF culture is currently increasing the hostility of online space. The Slow GIF Movement seeks to remedy this with the creation of calming, gently looping GIFs and an invitation to others to take up the cause.

A brief, created in consultation with disabled internet users, that invites others to create their own Slow GIFs, in contribution to the movement.

Rhiannon is also working with the heart failure team at Saint George’s Hospital, to develop some of the GIFs as a form of therapy for heart failure patients, to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and breathlessness that can often lead to hospital readmission. Rhiannon and the team plan to adapt the GIFs into an exercise programme that patients can undertake from their hospital bed. The project is also currently seeking funding for a clinical trial.

In creating the Slow GIF Movement, Rhiannon has been supported by digital commissioning and development agency The Space and arts commissioning programme Unlimited. The organisations have collaborated to ensure this exciting exploration of neurodiversity and public health reaches as many people as possible.

Find out more about the project, and explore the brief to make your own Slow GIFs at http://bit.ly/slowgif 

Share the collection via GIPHY: https://giphy.com/slowgifs, or search ‘slowgifs’ in the GIF keyboard on Facebook and Twitter.

Live dates:

  • 27 July – 22 Sept 2019: The Big Screen, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.
  • 23 – 25 August 2019: Victorious Festival, Portsmouth: ‘Poems Made from Words Found in the Bin’

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