When reddit’s annual April Fools Joke/Social Experiment was revealed to be a collaborative/competitive mural, it seemed like a project destined for disaster. Who would ever want the collective forces of the internet in charge of creating something like this? And the first few drawings seemed to be what everyone would predict: Penises, dickbutt, the phrase “send nudes please” and a general arbitrary scribble in the center.
But then something strange happened.
People worked together.
At first it was only groups working to turn the whole 1,000 x 1,000 grid into one color, with teams green and blue in the right, black and white in the center, and red in the left. But it soon became so much more sophisticated. It quickly took on the appearance of a collage, with seemingly every semi-organized corner of the internet coming together to eek out a spot to make their own. National flags soon popped up, and there were games where they tried to “eat” rival flags up.
But those games stopped as well. Then instead of competing for the largest flag, people were creating border hearts uniting rival flags and protecting their spot from attackers. And then there were genuinely impressive displays of impromptu artistry, as the Mona Lisa and Starry Night were created pixel by pixel. As were tributes to Steve Irwin and David Bowie. He-Man and Skeletor showed up. Rainbow Road and Old Glory showed up in the center, with the trans flag as the equator.
There were still some that insisted on making it a competition. A group of people tried to make the entire canvas black, and when that failed they tried to erase the big centerpieces. The Mona Lisa, American Flag, center tree, and Starry Night were all at one point completely blacked out. But, counter to almost every other instance of internet trolling, they lost. People rallied to protect this crazy amalgamation of the internet. The mural held.
And honestly it’s kinda beautiful.