Fuck it Friday Reddit Weekender

As part of Fuck it Friday our team invents opportunities to do stuff that we wouldn’t ordinarily get to do. Last Friday Johnny Cullen, Creative Director, Thinkhouse threw himself headfirst into a Fuck it Friday that lasted until Monday...

On April Fools Day 2017, Reddit launched an online social experiment, r/Place. It was a chaotic and beautiful 72 hours where communities all over Reddit and beyond contributed pixels to create a collective canvas. Very quickly wars emerged between different communities as creativity and dominance played an equal part in the control of the canvas. The end result was something insane, as it is beautiful. Flash forward to 2022, and just 3 days from April first, Reddit announces it's bringing it back.

Immediately Across the website, factions were created, where anonymous generals would command their digital armies in disclosed Discord chat rooms where to plant their pixel art. To succeed, you need to galvanise a community towards a common cause. That cause could be something beautiful like a pixelated recreation of Rembrandt's The Night Watch or a giant black void destined to destroy everything in its path. The mechanic that allows this to happen is a limited time frame on every pixel you can place, 5 minutes to be exact. So to create something, you need to work together.

When r/Place was re-launched in 2022, the internet took hold, and the existing factions tried to make their mark; however, wars began between different "clans" of pixel pushers. The flag people" were the nationalist subreddits, fighting for domination, With Germany ripping through the centre, alliances and wars popping up everywhere with some awesome collaborative intercountry's pixel art sealing defensive pacts. However, Canada had a rough time with it; they struggled to create their maple leaf, which triggered everyone to decide to disrupt the flag and even turn it into a yellow banana at one point.

Brands played a critical part in the nationalist identity clans, with Ireland creating Mr Tayto, Guinness, and at one point Brennan's bread, The UK had Yorkshire Tea, Denmark Lego and Germany Jagermeister. I even tried to infiltrate the ranks, trying to get a Jameson pixelated whiskey bottle created. It seemed the sliotar was the preferred choice.

Meanwhile, streamers got wind of the ongoing pixel war and galvanised their communities to create things in their name. For example, XQC, a popular Twitch Streamer, was sent death threats for attacking a Star Wars artwork with his own creation.

To evolve from 2017, the admins of r/Place doubled the canvas on Saturday. Creating new space for people to claim. They then doubled it again and added 8 new colours to the palette, allowing people to detail existing artworks and which also contributed to the creation of a new faction, The Amongi, who drew countless camouflaged Among Us “Sus'' characters throughout the canvas.

The experiment reached a breaking point on Monday, 72 hours later. Bots were blamed for specific artworks, communities desperate to defend their art from more prominent factions and an insanely chaotic but incredibly creative canvas.

But the final stroke was yet to be painted. In the last hours, the admins of r/Place reduced the palette to a single white colour, resulting in a complete white out of the canvas, dubbed the anti-void.

The subsequent memes and, frankly, emotional reactions were something to behold, communities embracing the impermanence and the journey of embarking on such a vast, multifaceted art experiment. The Reddit hivemind came together to create something wonderful. But, like a global digital Tibetan sand mandala, all good things must end.

Check out the timelapse video here...