As of April 1, 2022 R/Place is at it again. They’ve opened their canvas for anyone with an account to place one pixel at a time to build whatever works of art they choose. Of course everyone can overwrite them too. It creates a great form of consensus art competition. Similar in some ways to the painting rocks we are familiar with but with input from across the globe.
This quickly becomes a very interesting social experiment telling us not only what people are interested in but how they choose to convey it. Only interests with a large and well-coordinated base can get enough people together to both build an defend an image since each person gets a vote one pixel at a time. So it is worth taking a look at what people choose to build and what that might mean for society and transhumanism moving forward.
When we look at the canvas as it is developing we see common themes emerge quite swiftly. The major themes seem to be those of flags and of various fictional characters and properties. The flags are easy enough to understand. People love to rally around various causes and flags are the literal emblems of those. Many of them are national flags with Ukraine being exceptionally popular. Elements like the transgender flag get plenty of support as well.
The other major category of pop culture shows up in many forms. Everything from the LEGO logo to the Skyrim dragon can be found at the time of writing. That may all change by tomorrow but there is no doubt that even when they keep shifting similar material will remain in play.
Some of that is likely due to the fact that this is taking place on Reddit and it draws on a larger self-selecting pool but there is little question that this is reflective to some degree of society at large. These are the things that we value enough to collaborate heavily on and to draw enough people together to compete for space on a board. What is conspicuously absent then are transhumanist themes.
We need to put more effort into really communicating transhumanism and its organizations to get more people on board. There is plenty of it in pop culture but so much of it is negative. Still even then we aren’t seeing as many characters with transhuman characteristics or stories and worlds as popular as they could be. When this is all over it might interesting to take a look across the full run of R/ Place and see how many transhuman characters we can find. But we should definitely be looking to get more into the pop culture and mainstream the ideas even more than we are. Make them fun and interesting so people will voluntary come out and propagate these ideas themselves. Self-organize to put their efforts into it. R/ Place itself is one opportunity we may consider. After all it has a huge following among people who already interested in internet communities and is open to any and all participants. For that we need to self organize a bit more and get people focused. Put up a bit H+ or the like in the middle of the page. Same organizing goes for anything else we may want to work on to get the message widely spread.