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Gridcosm Information Overload

A documentary about data from Gridcosm.

running time 32:22


For over 11 years, an online collaborative project has quietly flourished. Starting with a 150x150 "seed" image, artists collaborate to make a 450x450 collage, which is then shrunk down to create a new 150x150 seed for the next level. And so the project has continued, for over 3000 levels, the work of almost 300 artists. This is Gridcosm.

The nature of this connected, and potentially endless, source of imagery lends itself to an automated animation exploring level after level, flying through real-world time and events faster than they can be processed by the human eye. This animation has become known as the Gridcosm Flythrough.

In the decade-plus that Gridcosm has existed, over 24000 individual images have been created, with an average time elapsing between creation of only 4 hours. Additionally, textual data has amassed in the form of a freeform text block which accompanies each piece, as well as user-generated tagging of each level's content.

Gridcosm Information Overload is an attempt to explore over 10 years of data, accidently generated as a by-product of this perpetual art project. Imagery is explored in terms of color values, relative position, ordering of contribution, and more. Individual artists (denoted by their three-letter IDs) are compared by localized participation levels. Overall activity is mapped against scaled real-time to highlight both lulls and frenzied growth. In short, Gridcosm Information Overload is an experimental documentary, automatically generated, to visualize and pay homage to the hours upon hours of artistic energy spent by the 300 people who have made Gridcosm the amazing project that it is today. It is not intended to be digested all at once, but rather represent the scale of the project and the huge amount of work by the participating artists by overwhelming the senses and beckoning for a slower and more detailed exploration by the viewer.

0:30 Sample (mp4, 640x480, 3MB)

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