Thursday, April 07, 2022

The 2022 r/place Atlas

Josh Wardle, the inventor of Wordle), had his first viral hit back in 2017 with the subReddit r/place. On April 1st 2017 Reddit uploaded a 1,000 x 1,000 pixel canvas to the /r/place subreddit. The canvas was blank except for the message: 

"There is an empty canvas. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more".
For four days Reddit users could select one pixel on the canvas and fill it with any color from a 16-bit palette. That user was then locked out of the canvas for five minutes. After five minutes the same user could contribute another pixel to the canvas. The five minute lock-out for individual users meant that different users actually had to work together to create a recognizable design on the canvas. 

On April 1st 2022 r/place arose from the flames and once more became an active canvas. For four days people from across the world once again came together and contributed to create temporary works of art. I say temporary because on Monday evening r/place suddenly switched to offering only one color - white. Over the next few hours the art on r/place was slowly erased as users turned r/place back into a blank white canvas.

However all that art hasn't completely vanished. Thanks to the 2022 r/place Atlas you can now explore all the art work created by Reddit users on its very own interactive canvas. The /r/Place Atlas is an interactive map of the complete /r/Place canvas as it looked on the day contributions were stopped a few days after April Fools Day. The map allows you to zoom in and out on the canvas. You can also hover over individual designs on the map for an explanation and links to any relevant subreddits or websites about the design. The map also contains a search facility to automatically find any of the 7,204 different designs on the canvas.

If you are feeling very nostalgic you can also view an interactive map of the artwork created by the 2017 r/place community. The 2017 r/place Atlas was created five years ago by Roland Rytz. His original code has been reused to create the new 2022 r/place Atlas.

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