AS Long As Possible by Juha van Ingen and Janne Särkelä

AS Long As Possible (ASLAP) a 1000 year long animated GIF loop

An art project by Juha van Ingen in collaboration with Janne Särkelä


Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art acquires the first of the AS Long As Possible playback units to the Finnish National Gallery Collection!


"The work turns eternity into a composition, unraveling the dimensions of time into chunks we can comprehend while also invoking questions of digital decay." Hyperallergic

".. a wake-up call about the meaninglessness and impermanence of the constant stream of net effluvia we digest." Vice

"With 1,000 years of GIF-life ahead of us, there’s no excuse not to see this GIF at some point in your — comparatively — short, short life." Milk

The starting point in making AS Long As Possible was to make a one extremely long animated GIF loop. ASLAP is made of black frames with a white number indicating the frames position in the loop. There are 48 140 288 frames which change in c.a. 10 minute intervals making the total duration of the loop 1000 years.

The Itch for Eternity
An essay on AS Long As Possible by curator and critic Pontus Kyander (PDF)

AS Long As Possible first frame of the loopAS Long As Possible last frame of the loop

The first and last frame of the loop

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a file format developed by CompuServe in 1987and come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability. GIF is still among the most popular image formats on the Internet.

In the early days of World Wide Web GIF was the most popular tool for artists working on on-line projects. But in mid 90's the technically more versatile Flash took over as the number one creative tool for presenting art works on-line. Recently with the huge success of photo-sharing services such as Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr GIF has had its second coming and has regained its popularity also as an artistic medium.

The name of ASLAP is hommage to John Cage composition "ORGAN2/ASLSP" (1987) which is played with Halberstad organs for the next 625 years. The abbreviation of Cages composition included and instruction to the performer of the piece: As SLow aS Possible. However, if the piece was to be played as slow as possible the first note should be played for ever.

As humans capability to comprehend eternity is limited, it is easier understand the dimensions of a composition lasting hundreds of years than something playing for ever.

Also in AS Long As Possible the progress is made visible though viewing the whole piece is impossible.

In the first stage in 10.9.-20.9.2015 ASLAP was presented in an installation at FISH Gallery Helsinki

Documentation of AS Long As Possible installation in FISH Gallery

Enlarged photographic prints of ASLAP frames /FISH Gallery

Documentation of AS Long As Possible installation in FISH Gallery

The ASLAP animation and a preview file /FISH Gallery

In the second stage in 2017, when GIF turns 30 and Finland celebrates its Centennial of independence, the ASLAP animation is started and the progress can be followed in real-time until year 3017 when the loop starts over.

How we intend to keep the GIF running for 1000 years?

The ASLAP file is cloned and it will simultaneously run on several independent physical playback units. The units will also be used to exhibit the work to the public.

When one unit is destroyed in a war or in a natural disaster - or when it needs to be technically upgraded - a new physical unit is built and the animation file is synchronised with the remaining units.

We’ll also make archived packages to be used as the mother files, if the physical units are all destroyed. The sealed package contains a digital copy of ASLAP on various storage media. It also contains a printed copy of the required code to generate a new ASLAP file and the specification of GIF.

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ASLAP has been supported by AVEK