The r/post subreddit is open again and users have started filling the canvas within minutes. A large-scale social art experiment, which first appeared over five years ago, has finally returned.
In 2017, Reddit launched a massive experiment in social art called r/place, with an unprecedented form of user collaboration. No news has appeared since then, but now it has finally reopened.
The r/place subreddit is a community on Reddit where anyone registered on the site can access a huge shared canvas and place a small square on it every five minutes. In its first incarnation, r/place was a huge success, attracting a large number of participants who created their own subreddits to coordinate collaborative work on artworks. Just like the first time, rediscovery opens up communities for countries, streamers, fans of certain games and much more. Everyone tries to portray themselves on the canvas before the show closes again.
The opening of r/place will only last until April 4, 2022, after which it will close at an unspecified time of day. Despite the uncertainty about the future, the participants of r/place are still creating impressive collaborative artworks, representing their favorite communities with ephemeral pixels on a collaborative canvas. Since the project is open to everyone, it is also quickly filled with links to memes. Each small section of the canvas represents several hundred or more people working together to hold their place.
Unfortunately, trolls are very popular; one streamer with a large number of fans can arm his fans and destroy the entire territory in seconds. There are complaints about this behavior in the subreddit, but the nature of the project means that such tactics are not prohibited. While there may be protections in future iterations, the impending end of these means there will likely be no changes this time around. Fortunately, despite this problem, most of the canvas remains intact and there are still communities struggling to keep their parts.
The r/place subreddit is an interesting combination of elements; it works as an art project of mass collaboration, a snapshot of the internet during its existence and a surprisingly tactical real-time struggle to keep the space intact, almost like a real-time strategy game. Once the community’s claim is at stake, it becomes a challenge to keep everyone there and overpower the attackers who want to erase the hard work. r/place doesn’t open very often though, so deciding to ruin someone else’s work instead of creating something memorable is a disappointing choice.