The Global Canvas

Imagine a canvas so vast it spans the entire globe. What if I told you this canvas already exists? Artists and non-artists alike from nearly every country and culture have collaborated for years through a virtual canvas we know as the “world wide web.” The information super highway has paved the way for a new interactive art form that anyone can contribute to, and yes, this includes you, gentle reader. Interested? Here’s three current art initiatives aimed at getting you involved globally.

“The One Million Masterpiece”

Recent global art projects have had a common goal in mind: to unite societies world-wide by using diversity as our strength opposed to our weakness. The One Million Masterpiece is the largest of these, an online collective of nearly 30,000 artists spanning 174 countries. Each member is responsible for designing one square of many that will eventually be arranged together in a grid-like massive art piece. The intent is to paint a portrait of what life is like in our modern society using aspects of each unique contributor. In addition to generating a sense of community, the online collective’s greater purpose lies in collecting millions of dollars in donations to benefit several charitable causes. “Urban Dialogues” is a website that is similar in nature. It functions as a showcase for photographs of streets in many different cities that have been combined with digital art work through the use of Adobe Photoshop.

Improv Everywhere

The flash mob video site, Improv Everywhere, began as a comedy troupe that dedicated themselves to creating improvised musical theatre-type moments in the unlikeliest of public places. I couldn’t think of a better way to expose mainstream society to performance art. In previous “missions,” they’ve sung about their love for lunch in the lobby of Trump Tower, thrown surprise wedding receptions for strangers in city parks and composed a symphony of cell phone ringtones from knapsacks left with a baggage check clerk. Founded in August 2001 by Charlie Todd of New York City, the troupe’s antics have been documented through over a hundred online videos, involving tens of thousands of performers. A separate website has now been set up to institute one of these ensembles in every major city around the world.

The 1 Second Film

How does one moment of worldwide unity sound to you? Award-winning animator Nirvan Mullick will devote literally one second of screen time to this very cause, in what he refers to as the “world’s biggest shortest film.” The 1 second film project uses 12 giant real world paintings to fill the frames of a single second of animation. Anyone that contributes towards the finances of this project will find their name listed in the hour-long list of production credits that follow the film. If you’re like me, this may be the first time you’ll be interested in watching a movie’s credits. A number of celebrities and filmmakers have gotten involved, ranging from the likes of Kevin Bacon, to Stephen Colbert, to Spike Jonze. All profits from the production are to be donated to the Global Fund for Women, a grant-making organization that supports women’s rights, which also happens to be the theme of this (very) short film. It is a great example of how the Internet has allowed the world to come together for a (albeit brief) moment to support a single cause that will in turn benefit people on a global scale (even if that means having our names in film credits next to Tom Green’s).