Drawn Together

Screenshot of Drawn Together by pixelpusher

Drawn Together

An interactive installation project, exploring creative crowd sourcing in hand drawn music videos. Shown at the Big Chill Festival, August  2010

The result of Drawn Together at The Big Chill festival, 4-8 August 2010:

More images here and here

About Drawn Together:

Drawn Together allows groups of individuals to create a music video by asking each of them to visually interpret small sections of music, and combining their work.

This particular video came from the collaborative results of about 80 people drawing 211 individual drawings (frames of animation) that each interpreted a frame of audio (at 12 frames per second, that comes to 66 milliseconds).

Download the application (OSX, Windows, Linux) and source code

The experience begins with a piece of music broken into short sections, be that a slice of a drum break or a sliver of a synth warble. Individuals are given a black screen, a digital drawing tool and a looping, random section of the music. They are encouraged to draw their own visual interpretation of that sound. Once satisfied with their handiwork, the drawing is saved, linked to the sound it represents and becomes a small section of the music video. When all the sound clips have a visual representation linked to them, the video is shown.

Like the early 20th Century animator Oscar Fischinger, participants are encouraged to draw in black-and-white line drawings, giving them a free range of expression within strict stylistic constraints.

Drawn Together builds on ideas of collective consciousness and puts a modern spin on the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse – where artists would draw body parts and conceal them under folds of paper, before passing it to the next person to add to the mystery figure.

Like in Exquisite Corpse, participants in Drawn Together do not get to see the video until it is entirely complete. Cards are handed out with details of how they can see it online, or in a private viewing.

A Bit More:

At the same time, Drawn Together is a completely Open Source production (developed in Processing, graphics created in Inkscape) and the source code will be available after The Big Chill on this website.

Additionally, Drawn Together explores the idea of factory production in art by dividing up an artistic task (e.g. creating a music video) between a collection of anonymous, interchangeable strangers. The result is uncertain – is it stronger or more interesting than a conceptually coherent work by a single author? Is it more interesting because of its complexity? Or is the result something different, entirely? Answering these questions requires us to use the software and judge the results.

The medium of production, e.g. the Open source software, constrains the artistic possibilities of the images (black and white, with limited ability to create complex shapes). Yet, the Open source license of the software allows anyone to create a derivative version with more visual possibilities built in. The trade-off to this approach is that the more specialization and complexity are built into the visual tools for the software, the more the participants are constrained to the software’s authors’ version of visual possibility, resulting in a production model more like a traditional factory where the creative power is in the hands of those who design the system, not those who carry it out.

Contact:

If you’d like more information on Drawn Together, or to show it or other pixelpusher projects, or to schedule an interview with the artist Evan Raskob, please contact pixelpusher at info@pixelist.info.