AS Long As Possible (ASLAP)

A GIF animation loop, 2015, Duration 1,000 years

The animation was started in Helsinki 28th March 2017 at 12:00:49.154 EEST in ARS17 exhibition in KIASMA. ASLAP will be kept playing continuously until 3017 in the collection of The National Gallery of Finland.

ASLAP is an art project by visual artist Juha van Ingen. The animation was created in collaboration with developer and sound artist Janne Särkelä and the GIF Player 2.0 was programmed by coder Jani Lindqvist.

News: The transportable ASLAP will be playing in Institut finlandais in Paris for one day (frames 122258 - 122307) on 11th Oct 2019! Additionally, a discussion will be held in the auditorium (from 5.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.), with an introduction by Alexandre Michaan, freelance media art conservator. The work by Juha van Ingen will serve as a starting point to a discussion about ASLAP and its surviving for the upcoming 1000 years and, more generally, about digital art and its preservation strategies.

"The work turns eternity into a composition, unravelling 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 first frame of the 1000 year AS Long As Possible GIF loop

The first frame of the 1000 year GIF animation loop which was started 28 March 2017 in Helsinki.

ASLAP is made of black frames with a white number indicating the frames position in the loop starting from 1. There are 48 140 288 frames which change in c.a. 11 minute intervals making the total duration of the loop 1000 years. The looping function is coded into the GIF file so when the last frame has been played the animation starts automatically playing the loop from the beginning. The ultimate goal is to keep ASLAP playing forever.

"The common thought when people hear of ASLAP is that it will no way run for a 1000 years. If it seems unrealistic that a GIF file could be maintained by several national institutions what chance do all our own digital videos, images and documents have to survive?..."

".. An animation of nothing else other than slowly changing frame numbers might seem a bit boring but I think it makes it more exciting if you know that the next people to see the same frames of the animation you have just seen will live a 1000 years from now...."  - Juha van Ingen

The last frame of the 1000 year AS Long As Possible GIF animation loop will be playing in 3017.

The last frame of the 1000 year AS Long As Possible GIF animation loop will be playing in 3017.

The AS Long As Possible playback unit in ARS17 exhibition, KIASMA, Helsinki.

The AS Long As Possible playback unit in ARS17 exhibition, KIASMA, Helsinki.

The ASLAP GIF file is cloned and will play continuously at the same pace on several synchronised physical playback units. The playback units will be kept in museums/archives in different countries. 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 can be synchronised with the remaining units.

The program which plays the animation will have to be upgraded in the future, at the latest when the computers as we know them become obsolete. GIF was designed in 1987 and is a very simple file format in today's standards so it should be possible for the people of the future to find ways to keep the animation playing.

The AS Long As time capsule on its way to the collection of KUMU.

The time capsule is on its way to the storage of The Art Museum of Estonia.

Additionally there are five stainless steel time capsules which contain all necessary documentation for recreating the animation and to set it playing from the right frame. The time capsules are made for the worst case scenario where all playback units are destroyed at the same time by some huge catastrophe. Though it is likely that the surviving people might have other priorities if such a devastating event would happen.

The transportable AS Long As Possible playing in LIMA, Amsterdam.

ASLAP installed, playing and ready for the exhibition in LIMA, Amsterdam.

The playing loops/ playback units have to be safely kept in the premises where they are deposited and can not be loaned or sold. To be able to show ASLAP in exhibitions and festivals to a wider audiences there is also a transportable playback unit. The transportable unit is identical to the other playback units and when switched on it starts playing the loop from the same frame and in the same pace as the units playing the animation continuously.

The transportable ASLAP (frames 77739 - 82371) was exhibited for the first time 7.11-12.12 2018 in LIMA Amsterdam as a part of a exhibition series: Cultural Matter curated by Sanneke Huismann.

The 5714 A4 pages containing the binary code of ASLAP frames 1-38538 exhibited in the ARS17 exhibition.

The 5714 A4 pages containing the binary code of ASLAP frames 1-38538 exhibited in the ARS17 exhibition.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a file format developed by CompuServe in 1987 and 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 90s 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 specifications of GIF on The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)website.

The name of ASLAP is homage to the John Cage composition "ORGAN2/ASLSP" (1987) which is played with Halberstad organs for the next 625 years. The abbreviation of Cage's composition included and instruction to the performer of the piece: As SLow aS Possible.

The AS Long As Possible installation in FISH Gallery, Helsinki.

The AS Long As Possible concept is presented as an installation in FISH Gallery, Helsinki.



The playback unit is transported to collection storage in KIASMA

After the ARS17 exhibition the ASLAP playback unit is transported in to storage in KIASMA.


Thanks to the following institutions for support:

Special thanks to: The project would have been impossible to do with out the following people who contributed in the process (in chronological order):

The background and arthistorical context of ASLAP:

For more background information and writings on ASLAP download the As long as possible publication with texts by: Heritage curator Cécile Dazord, arthistorian and curator Sanneke Huismann, visual artist Juha van Ingen, writer and curator Pontus Kyander, artist Jan Robert Leegte, media art conservator Alexandre Michaan, director of LIMA Gaby Wijers and artist-researcher Kari Yli-Annala. Translation from French to English by curator and translator Laurie Hurwitz.

As long as possible publication (PDF 2,6 Mb)

Get in contact if you want to support the ASLAP project, are interested in exhibiting the transportable ASLAP or are interested in writing about ASLAP and need permission for photographs.

contact (at)

Juha van Ingen / ASLAP PL 1147 00101 Helsinki Finland