The Internet’s April Fools Surprise

By Nic LazMonday, Jul 01, 2019


Reddit is one of the most popular social news and discussion websites on the internet. It’s mission is “to help people discover places where they can be their true selves, and empower our community to flourish.” In following this philosophy the administrators of this website have a curious way of celebrating April Fools Day – by challenging the community of users with interactive online experiments.


In 2018 the project was called The Place, with only this explanation:
“There is an empty canvas.
You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another.
Individually you can create something.
Together you can create something more.”


It was a blank, 1000 x 1000 pixel canvas where users could select individual pixels (1 million in total), change it to anyone of 16 colours, and it would then be ‘locked’ from modification for 5 minutes. As a result creating, and maintaining, an image of several hundred pixels required a high volume of coordination, especially if the image was to withstand 72 hours of almost constant modifications.


Here is a 10 minute video timelapse of the ‘the place’ as it evolved over 72 hours of collaboration:



The result is mindblowing – not just by how the blank canvas was populated in the early hours but also how ‘real estate’ battles were played out and the number of flags / logos / icons were created by user collectives from online communities all over the internet. In addition to the unbelievable amount of ephemeral creativity that this project unleashed in people.


Furthermore it is astonishing the level of commitment that users put into making their mark and keeping it on the canvas for 72 hours; teams of users coordinated to ‘keep watch’ and had ‘agreed plans for what pixels to place and where’ – all of which was spontaneously organised by these groups once The Place had started.


To us it demonstrates what a group of committed individuals can do, when a blank canvas is offered to them to create and curiously explore a new dimension. We invite you to consider what you and your Cluster of Fascination could have created with such an invitation to create…


Got a curious idea already? Well then propose it!