Ephemeral Web Art : Perpetual Patchwork Quilt

by Thomas J. Greenbaum

A patchwork quilt of animated GIF files presented here for your consideration as a representation of ephemeral web art. It is ephemeral because it is time dependent, almost non-repeating, cannot be printed, and cannot be viewed in its entirety. The pattern is not the result of coding (besides straight-forward HTML). Designs based upon this principle are easily developed by anyone who can create an animated GIF. Give it a try yourself.

The pattern will perform 2.68 x 1016 cycles before it repeats. If we assume one second per cycle, then you will need to view it for 850,223,044 years in order to see it repeat the initial state. This is due to the relative time synchronization of the sequence of the frames in each animated GIF file.

This quilt requires one HTM file and 10 GIF files; a total of 11 files (only 55582 bytes). While not esthetically ground-breaking (later versions may be more eye-pleasing) the concept of creating a non-code based, almost-perpetual, non-repeating pattern is, I believe, significant.


From Simple To Complex

There is no sophisticated coding weaving this quilt. It is actually woven very simply with ten unique animated GIF files, each with a different prime number of frames. Therefore, to calculate the number of cycles before it repeats you need to multiply all these numbers together.

29 x 31 x 37 x 41 x 43 x 47 x 51 x 53 x 59 x 61 = 2.68 x 1016

Click here - to view the individual animated GIFs as a rapidly changing background.

ID 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
# of frames 29 31 37 41 43 47 51 53 59 61

Copyright 2004 by Tom Greenbaum. All Rights Reserved