Date: 2005
Project Type: Interactive

Launch Project Launch Project

Exercise for Peter Edmunds'



SwarmSketch is an ongoing project, in which a digital canvas is sketched by many contributors online. Each week SwarmSketch randomly chooses a popular search term, which becomes the sketch subject for the week. In this way, SwarmSketch represents "the collective consciousness" of the online artists. (Due to increased traffic, sketches are currently being updated after 1000 lines.)


This exercise will explore the concept of collective thinking and collaborative art practice.


  1. Warm-Up Activity (5 min):

    Using an image of SwarmSketch, the educator should ask students how they think the image was made. Is this an artist's work? Is it made with a computer? Is it a photocopy? An explanation of SwarmSketch's collaborative process should follow.

  2. Play (15 min):

    Students should break up into small groups and play SwarmSketch.

  3. Follow Up Exercise (10 min):

    The educator should collect opinions about the project. Suggested questions could include:

    1. Is this an artwork or a computer program?
    2. What's the difference? How does drawing collectively change the final product?
    3. Do you find it easy to collaborate with others, or do you prefer to work alone?

  4. Activity (20 minutes):

    The educator should pass out different words on pieces of paper. In groups, students can choose whether to make a collective image or collective story about that term. At the end of class, they should present their work to the entire class, and explain what they think are the pros and cons of working collectively on a creative piece.