On April Fools’ Day, Reddit unveiled something new to its community. It wasn’t a prank, it was a community event called Sequence, where the goal is to form a short film using nothing but text blocks and GIFs chosen by the community. The selected files then get compiled into a short film, and as of now the film makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
To users new to the yearly April Fools’ projects and those more accustomed to the shenanigans, no one can form a cohesive idea of what’s going on. There have been lengthy and confusing posts trying to piece together a coherent story from the mess, and even the formal explanation on the main hub for Sequence says little more other than saying it’s forming a short film using user-submitted content.
Reddit isn’t new to unexplained community events, a new one pops up every year on April Fools, and they almost always go off the wall in terms of how bizarre they can become. In 2017, a similar group project called Place began with similar confusion and curiosity. However, by the end of the experiment, the end result was a mosaic worked on by over 1 million people and containing hidden pixel artworks from people all over the internet.
Perhaps leaving Sequence unexplained is what it makes it, and Place before it, so intriguing. Giving the users complete freedom to make whatever they wanted is like sitting 150,000 monkeys down at typewriters and hoping they produce a work of art. It may make little sense, but for having thousands people working on one short film, Sequence has an aspect of chaotic beauty.
The end result so far is beginning to form some semblance of cohesion as efforts have become more coordinated, and users are pulling material from everything source imaginable. From Star Wars to Family Guy to Anchorman, Reddit is looking to make a short film so abstract it can give an artsy European film a run for its money.
Sequence has within one day of its launch captured the spirit of the Internet. There is an ungodly amount of people all pushed into one place with different interests and goals, and told to play nice and create something with what they've been given. And while there were speed bumps in the beginning, the community has formed a symbiotic relationship where the users work together to make a work of art. An insanely stupid work of art.
When the project is done and over, the entire Sequence will be pooled together into a video roughly ten minute long and three days in the making. It may not make much sense, but what matters is how it came to be. 150,000 random strangers voting on short clips from every corner of pop culture can pump out something beautiful.
Jack Gleckler is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think? Tell Jack by tweeting him at @thejackgleckler.