When Pixels Collide: Reddit's extraordinary collective art event
Reddit gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.
The rules were simple. Each user could choose one pixel from 16 colors to place anywhere on the canvas. They could place as many pixels of as many colors as they wanted, but they had to wait a few minutes between placing each one.
Over the following 72 hours, what emerged was nothing short of miraculous. A collaborative artwork that shocked even its inventors.
From a single blank canvas, a couple simple rules and no plan, came this [animated gif above, final artwork below].
Each pixel you see was placed by hand. Each icon, each flag, each meme created painstakingly by millions of people who had nothing in common except an Internet connection.
There's been some debate about this at A/UK central. Don't the banality of the icons - whether national flags or brands - dispirit rather than inspire? Are the territorial and tribal wars that have clearly ranged across its surface - and which the Sudoscript blog charts - simply playing with antagonism, or surrendering to it?
Yet it does show the potential power of collective online game spaces, in the way that Minecraft has been doing for a few years now. And as many would say, the internet is as much a mirror of where we currently are, as a pathfinder to new ways ahead.
Final artwork below: