Straight line traced by 500 individuals: mutation in action

via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow on 2/17/11


A strange little piece of crowdsorcery called “A Sequence of Lines Consecutively Traced by Five Hundred Individuals” provides a sharp illustration of the magnification of transcription errors and the way that extreme mutation can proceed from small changes.

A Sequence of Lines Consecutively Traced by Five Hundred Individuals is an online drawing tool that lets users do just one thing – trace a line. Each new user only sees the latest line drawn, and can therefore only trace this latest imperfect copy. As the line is reproduced over and over, it changes and evolves – kinks, trembling motions and errors are exaggerated through the process.

A Sequence of Lines Consecutively Traced by Five Hundred Individuals was first created as a tool to be used in conjunction with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – an online labor market. Mechanical Turk workers were payed 2 cents to trace a line.

A Sequence of Lines Traced by Five Hundred Individuals (via Kottke)

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