Pixelfest: group artwork

12 November 2004


A Blue Perspective: Pixelfest: group artwork

» Pixelfest group artwork project «

Here's the game: can a group of random people, each contributing a teensy weensy bit, make a coherent piece of art/design/garbage purely through the influence of the work itself?

Here's the rules:

  • You can place one pixel a day.
  • You can place a pixel anywhere on the grid.
  • You can overwrite existing pixels.
  • There is no pre-defined subject matter of the picture.
  • No collaborating through the comments.
  • Use your imagination.

Go and pixelate.

Update: Although sabotage may be attempted, the game goes on! If you do think something has gone awry, just tell me.

Update: Jeremy Varo-Haub has created a Flash animation of the entire pixel process. You can see it at http://haub.net/pixelfest/.




  1. 1/89

    Rob Mientjes commented on 12 November 2004 @ 06:40

    Sweet. I hope there will be no trolls. It's equal to the pixelfont, though (the one where everybody can change a pixel per glyph).

  2. 2/89

    Hans commented on 12 November 2004 @ 06:41

    Hmm. This'll be mighty fun once enough people get involved! Here's to many more pixles to come!

    -pixel #3

  3. 3/89

    Hans commented on 12 November 2004 @ 07:04

    Sorry for the double post, but some pixels are larger than the grid squares, and thus have a light-grey line going through them...

  4. 4/89

    Turnip commented on 12 November 2004 @ 07:14

    Wow, that's a pretty cool idea. Will keep an eye on this...

  5. 5/89

    Simon Jessey commented on 12 November 2004 @ 07:34

    I have placed my pixel. Am I supposed to feel like a complete idiot?

  6. 6/89

    Andrew Krespanis commented on 12 November 2004 @ 09:27

    I don't know Simon, but if that's the correct response I guess we're both winners. :\
    266 pixels laid, and someone has already written 'POOP'. I hope this doesn't go downhill...

  7. 7/89

    Angad commented on 12 November 2004 @ 10:06

    How about 'Fuck Bush'?
    Naah, I'm just kidding, great idea btw!

  8. 8/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 12 November 2004 @ 10:28

    Hans: you're probably using Firefox/Mozilla. The grid is laid out using ems (so you can resize the picture bigger or smaller using font size) and Firefox miscalculates decimal em sizes, so you get pixel variations here and there.

  9. 9/89

    Tim Hill commented on 12 November 2004 @ 11:18

    I'm drawing a self portrait in the corner, don't ruin it!

  10. 10/89

    Jeff Wheeler commented on 12 November 2004 @ 11:31

    I figured out you can easily get through it. Simply disable cookies from this site and you can post as many pixels as you like. My recommendation is to use both cookies, and ips. Although this still is not terribly hard to get by, because whenever you reconnect to the internet on many ISP's, it'll assign you a new ip, and you only have to refuse cookies after that.

  11. 11/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 12 November 2004 @ 12:52

    If you want to be really malicious, you can circumvent anything.

    I have faith that the entropy of the system will be able to counteract any ultra-stupids, and if someone totally decimates it I can always reverse it.

  12. 12/89

    Joerg commented on 12 November 2004 @ 17:46

    Nice idea, some inspiration and fun. :)

  13. 13/89

    Angad commented on 12 November 2004 @ 23:47

    Hmm views fine for me in Firefox.

  14. 14/89

    Alex Weber commented on 13 November 2004 @ 00:26

    A very cool idea. I am really strained which thereby will develop. Nice experiment ...

  15. 15/89

    Ross commented on 13 November 2004 @ 01:24

    Did anyone else look at the page for 10 minutes before deciding where to put their priceless pixel? I think I used mine in the most meaningful way I could find. :)

    Lovely thought; I'll check back to see the results.

  16. 16/89

    Andrea Piernock Barrish commented on 13 November 2004 @ 01:30

    I've placed my pixel (893!) and I think this is an excellent experiment. I'll have to remember to come back and place more pixels. Oh, and I see some have overwritten the "poop"--nice work ;)

  17. 17/89

    Armando Juarez (Pixel 914) commented on 13 November 2004 @ 02:31

    Very interesting and innovative experiment. My respects to the Pixelfest Group!
    I'm hoping the project ends up with something more than a fractal.
    I like how there's a history of changes made to the picture, even though pixels may get writen over and over, in the end, it will have a little bit of each and every one of us. As Life

    (ok, went philosophical there, apologies)

    Ah, a suggestion, since there's a log of every pixel that has been modified. It would be nice to see time-lapse style animation of how this baby grew.

    Anyways good luck to all of you, and well happy pixeling...

    PS: One in a million means being part of THE team.

  18. 18/89

    PaleMelanesian commented on 13 November 2004 @ 02:43

    How about a way to select a color from the picture, as well as the color wheel, if you want to match one that's already there?

    This is a Great Idea. I love it.

  19. 19/89

    Okke Formsma commented on 13 November 2004 @ 03:50

    I love this idea. I'll be contributing my pixels in the coming days. It gives you something meaninfull to do in the winter :P

  20. 20/89

    alicson commented on 13 November 2004 @ 07:08

    what an adorable idea. mine's in.

  21. 21/89

    blueskin commented on 13 November 2004 @ 08:02

    i think it would be more fun if the pixels were added in real time with automatic refreshing of the page.

  22. 22/89

    Rob Mientjes commented on 13 November 2004 @ 08:40

    Oh, Cameron, is it possible that there are currently pixels being added at over 100 a minute?

  23. 23/89

    Turnip commented on 13 November 2004 @ 09:15

    It makes me really sad that someone somewhere in the world has the time to write a script to change your experiment into a shock site.

    Some days I wish we could just stick all these people on an island and sail away.

  24. 24/89

    beto commented on 13 November 2004 @ 09:17

    And the result of hundreds of thousands of collaborative efforts (at time of this writing) is.... a pixellated Goatse.

    Brilliant. It was just a matter of time.

  25. 25/89

    Jeff commented on 13 November 2004 @ 12:34

    Hmm... there seems to be a problem. All the squares are empty now and it shrunk my name to the first letter.

  26. 26/89

    MrK commented on 13 November 2004 @ 13:50

    C'mon, I thought it was funny.

  27. 27/89

    nathan commented on 14 November 2004 @ 00:12

    Sorry I'm late...;)

  28. 28/89

    monkey commented on 14 November 2004 @ 02:58

    doesn't work on Mac OSX with Mozilla Firefox.

  29. 29/89

    thejmouse commented on 14 November 2004 @ 06:41

    I use Firefox on WinXP and it doesn't work either... Every pixel is white...

  30. 30/89

    Turnip commented on 14 November 2004 @ 10:17

    For those that don't know, and didn't pick it up from the above comments: someone hijacked the experiment and turned it into a Goatse picture.

    So I assume the functionality was taken down in order to stop it happening again.

  31. 31/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 14 November 2004 @ 12:50

    Never fear, I shan't be daunted.

    The offending pixels have been (easily) removed. Continue pixellating people.

  32. 32/89

    Turnip commented on 14 November 2004 @ 20:23

    Woooohooo :D

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to restrict the 1 pixel per day thing by IP rather than cookies?

  33. 33/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 15 November 2004 @ 09:05

    It is now.

  34. 34/89

    Scott commented on 15 November 2004 @ 22:32

    This is a cool little project. Nice work man!

  35. 35/89

    bigeoino commented on 15 November 2004 @ 23:38

    Great idea.
    Any plans to animate the growth and spread of the pixcels over time?
    bigE (1587)

  36. 36/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 16 November 2004 @ 00:44

    Yep, could animate ... has to animate into something first, though. See how it goes :o]

  37. 37/89

    GeoffC commented on 17 November 2004 @ 02:59

    Fantastic Idea. Will be checking back often to see how it all pans out.

  38. 38/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 17 November 2004 @ 23:42

    If you squint pretty hard that big blue/red/green blob is starting to look like something.

    Looks a bit pointillist, actually.

  39. 39/89

    Turnip commented on 18 November 2004 @ 02:18

    Can you get a cookie to remember my name please? It's annoying to have to type it in every time.

  40. 40/89

    jeremy commented on 18 November 2004 @ 06:34

    What's powerful about this is the way it limits the power of the individual. Sure, I could spend two weeks writing the word "poop," but any one other person who doesn't like it can follow the same path, deleting every pixel. And any two or three people can have a devastating effect on one person's progress.

    I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the word "poop," by the way. Just using a real example from the collaboration-in-action.

    On another note, I'm gonna start a support group called "animation now!"

    I used the URL to skip forward 50 pixels at a time to see the whole piece coming together, and I submit that an animation, even at this "early" stage in the process, would be both interesting and educational.

    Considering that the data is all there for culling, I may try to build something that compiles the data once a day for animating. Easy enough, if it's okay with The Man.

  41. 41/89

    Ithika commented on 18 November 2004 @ 07:10

    I agree with the animation request. When this is all over with - I can barely contain my excitement! - the blue-tinted Man himself should release the Offical Pixelfest Time-lapse Animation.

    That would rock.

  42. 42/89

    Av commented on 18 November 2004 @ 07:40

    better a coloured pixel than just a number

  43. 43/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 18 November 2004 @ 10:50

    I'll probably get around to JavaScripting an animation thing sometime.

  44. 44/89

    Janetino commented on 18 November 2004 @ 17:56

    i suddenly feel tiny and square...and hungry

  45. 45/89

    jeremy commented on 19 November 2004 @ 01:08

    Okay, animation fans, here is an animation of the pixels as they get built, with some limited, but very useful, functionality:


    There are a lot of little things that would make it cooler, but I'm not going to build any of them now. Feel free to mail me with suggestions at jeremy (at) haub (dot) net, but don't expect me to respond to them with any great speed. This was just an evening project to stretch my chops a bit, and it gave me a chance to see the pixels get built over time, which is what I was really wanting to see yesterday.

    I hope you enjoy it!

  46. 46/89

    zargon zfrom zipzoid commented on 19 November 2004 @ 02:55

    zi zplaced zmy zpixel z! zyay!

  47. 47/89

    David house commented on 19 November 2004 @ 03:46

    My thoughts:

    At first, I thought 'wow'! What a great idea! After adding my pixel I felt a little let down, there wasn't really a lot to do. But going through the archive and especially watching the animation made me think a bit more.

    What's notable is the gradual build up then degredation of recognisable patterns. Someone managed to get 'poop', then 'wik.com', then 'stek' written, and whilst this was happening the rest of the population sat by, not realising or were too interested and decided to let it continue. However, once it became a recognisable pattern, people started defacing it. Now those three phrases are barely distinguishable.

    Next, it illustrates the two sides of us, the social and individual; we are more likely to place a pixel either next to someone elses (maybe because that's where our eye's are drawn, but regardless) or in a big space.

    Finally, this'll probably turn into a 'slippery slope' experiment. If we ever get to the point where a scene starts to become apparent, its likely increasingly more people will realise this, and add to it. When there is nothing recognisable, no-one knows what to aim for, but when we eventually get a nice landscape etc., people are going to realise that that's what's being drawn and aid that goal.

  48. 48/89

    jim commented on 19 November 2004 @ 18:12

    i think this is a fantastic idea... i'm gonna put my ... uhm... effort in ... when i can remember... i think what i'm most interested in is how long it will take to complete.

    how do we know when it's "done" tho?

  49. 49/89

    Doc commented on 19 November 2004 @ 22:25

    Great, just added my pixel. I wonder what would happen to it after a week.

  50. 50/89

    kaiser commented on 20 November 2004 @ 10:40


  51. 51/89

    Eddie commented on 21 November 2004 @ 02:22

    The grid after 3140 pixels placed is becoming very interesting, with many of the shapes starting to merge together.

    I've been placing pixels just to the right of the large cluster near the middle since number 450, originally to create a picture of a stickman, though it has taken on a life of its own since then.

    Rather than to create a stickman, I chose to experiment with the colours, and added pixels to the different shapes nearby, which are now being merged into the cluster.

    I really like the way the pixelfest experiment was made, and it's surprisingly addictive to add to and to watch others doing the same, thank you for making this. :-)

    PS There is one thing which I'm having a problem with, is adding a pixel over the last few days; I'm having to wait later in the day to add to the grid.

    Could this be because of having a limit on how long after you can place a pixel?

  52. 52/89

    TOCZ commented on 21 November 2004 @ 13:37

    I see an apple tree! lol... i hope this becomes something recognisable. I would love to see that happen. This is a great idea, and I plan on contributing whenever possible. Thanks!

  53. 53/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 21 November 2004 @ 16:58

    #51: The cookie on your computer should only last 18 hours, and the IP register is refreshed at midnight (California time), so you should be able to place a pixel at the same time everyday.

  54. 54/89

    Gemini6Ice commented on 21 November 2004 @ 20:24

    Shush, TOCZ! No collaboration in the comments!

    (But, yay, that's what I was hoping for. When I started the tree, I was aiming for a "Christmas Tree," but people kept putting apples on it, and I could only destroy one apple a day. So I gave up and went with it.



  55. 55/89

    Lou commented on 22 November 2004 @ 08:56

    How fun! I'm pixel # 3329.

  56. 56/89

    Tim Hill commented on 22 November 2004 @ 12:57

    re: jeremey and pixel animation

    Dude that pixel animation is friggin awesome.
    javascript genius

  57. 57/89

    naac commented on 22 November 2004 @ 21:06

    I'd love to see an animated version with the progress from pixel 1 to pixel n

  58. 58/89

    Gonzaman commented on 22 November 2004 @ 23:34

    Placing a pixel on Monday morning...what a great start into the week.
    Keep it going guys.

  59. 59/89

    jeremy commented on 23 November 2004 @ 01:08


    Thanks! It's not javascript, actually. It's a PHP file reading from an external data source that kicks data to an SWF in XML format. It's actually quite simple, especially because Cameron's data is formatted in a very simple, elegant way.

    naac, you want to be able to choose pixel n, and then run the animation to that point?

  60. 60/89

    Az commented on 23 November 2004 @ 05:16

    It says it was last modified on the 12th - that can't be right... right?
    Great idea, looking pretty already! I agree that an animation/event file would be great. ;)

  61. 61/89

    Mikkel Tscherning commented on 23 November 2004 @ 06:08

    Great project here, I've added my fancy yellow pixel :)

  62. 62/89

    ivyc commented on 23 November 2004 @ 08:28

    This is a very interesting project. My only suggestion is perhaps make it so that people can not override other peoples pixels???? But then maybe there was a reason you folks designed it that way.

    Either way I think that it is an excellent and very cool Idea! I can't wait to see what it looks like when completed.

  63. 63/89

    Mark commented on 24 November 2004 @ 19:53

    The green thing bottom right looks like a Christmas Tree? ;) How festive of us all.

  64. 64/89

    Sligowaths commented on 24 November 2004 @ 22:11

    OMFG! What a great idea! I loved it!

    I´m planning to develop one like your, just for fun...

    Thank you!

  65. 65/89

    Tom commented on 25 November 2004 @ 04:29

    Jeremy's animation looks really good (http://haub.net/pixelfest/), I thought about doing something like that but looks like youve done a great job allready, its interesting to watch pixels placed early on. They dont tend to get deleted.

  66. 66/89

    jeremy commented on 25 November 2004 @ 06:17

    Thanks, Tom! The link you threw up probably isn't going to work, because the punctuation got captured and added to the link. Here it is again, for the sake of clarity:


  67. 67/89

    andre commented on 26 November 2004 @ 01:45


  68. 68/89

    AprilEchidna commented on 26 November 2004 @ 05:06

    Wow! I'm gonna help make that little tree. Help to make the bark all brown.

    OK, I'll leave the portrait alone. ;-)

    YAY! Pixel 2500!

  69. 69/89

    Dodo commented on 26 November 2004 @ 05:09

    Wow, this seems like a great project, very great idea!

  70. 70/89

    William Bowers commented on 26 November 2004 @ 06:16

    This is such an aesome idea! Although, the picture is starting to look like a really bad nintendo game :-D

  71. 71/89

    cloude commented on 27 November 2004 @ 07:00

    Great project. Would love to see it starting from pixel one and progressing in "real-time"

    That would be very interesting.

  72. 72/89

    Daveeee commented on 27 November 2004 @ 22:06

    Awesome idea.
    Looking great so far. imho, its beginning to look like a ********.

  73. 73/89

    Genossetom commented on 30 November 2004 @ 04:38

    This is such a sweet idea. Totally useless, but sweet. I love it!
    I placed my pixel and I feel great, I am the art, I am the greatest artman on the world! My pixel will change my life, your life, the whole world! How could I ever lived without making my pixel? I don´t know...

    For serious: the comments should start with the latest entries, is this possible?

    Thank you for this nice idea, it´s so sweet (did I say this before?). Go on, people in the world, pixelate and alway remember: it´s a small pixel for you, but a big one for mankind ;-)

  74. 74/89

    Jay Harvey commented on 9 December 2004 @ 12:32

    Pixel 6000 was placed by Jay Harvey

    YES. =D

  75. 75/89

    Dennis commented on 11 December 2004 @ 00:05

    Cool... loved the idea.
    Have placed #6064 =)

  76. 76/89

    Greg K Nicholson commented on 20 December 2004 @ 14:25

    Hey, where are the greys?

    (pixel 6390)

  77. 77/89

    Stuart Moffat commented on 22 December 2004 @ 04:35

    why have people stopped putting pixels up?, I was promoting this site for a while, I WANT TO SEE IT FINISHED!

  78. 78/89

    The Man in Blue commented on 22 December 2004 @ 09:55

    That's the beauty of Pixelfest. Who's to say it's *not* finished?

  79. 79/89

    Alex commented on 25 December 2004 @ 18:24

    Well, it OBVIOUSLY wasn't finished when Stuart made that comment.

  80. 80/89

    curty commented on 27 December 2004 @ 08:36

    i doodit ebby day

  81. 81/89

    Richard commented on 28 December 2004 @ 02:24

    Hey now, is that a hummingbird in the foreground (big blue blob)? I believe we're in the verge of a pixel-perspective movement :)

  82. 82/89

    Athyrius commented on 25 January 2005 @ 04:08

    Would make a great memorial or commemorative wall... kinda like having your name on a brick. Just another brick in the wall. ;-)

  83. 83/89

    Busy commented on 1 February 2005 @ 16:12

    I'm obsessed.

  84. 84/89

    Busy commented on 2 February 2005 @ 18:18

    Whoever it is, you might as well give up now.  That pixel is staying blue!!!

  85. 85/89

    Busy commented on 7 February 2005 @ 16:13

    Aie! I've been censored!  I was only kidding around... take it easy. 

  86. 86/89

    Athyrius commented on 10 February 2005 @ 17:59

    Ok I have added more purple. Everything should have more purple. The king of colors... and very dangerous to work with.

  87. 87/89

    Anastasiya commented on 11 February 2005 @ 18:53

    Great!!! I like this idea! With love from Russia:)

  88. 88/89

    Eugê commented on 14 February 2005 @ 07:29

    Neat idea. I hope, you log the pixelations, so that you can create a progress movie of  this project.

    Greets, Eugê!

    (pixel 8029 and some others)

  89. 89/89

    zachriel commented on 10 March 2005 @ 02:07

    Awsome idea! I hope I will remember about this project to keep adding my pixels.

    (added number 8461)

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