Matthew Britton’s Art Squad project is a simple and wonderful idea. Google Docs – you know, the basic yet clusterfucky things you use all the time – are just open-sourced documents that anyone with an invite can edit. Britton seized an opportunity to turn the application into art and thus Art Squad was born, an ever morphing Google Doc graffiti wall, something that Britton says is "a silly idea that never seemed to go away."
The collaborative editing process has offered up a lot of Simpsons and Jesus imagery, French flags and Rick Astley lyrics. At one point the document was called Bart Squad, at the time of writing it’s called Art SQiUD. Anyone with the internet can be involved, meaning more or less anyone can get involved with net art.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Art Squad. Google blocked the document for two days on the rather vague basis that it violates its Terms Of Service. "The initial launch the project received a large number of visitors and I think it was due to the constant editing of the document by a variety of participants that Google deemed it to be in violation of their terms of service," Britton tells Dazed. "However, I asked for a review and it has been reinstated, for now."
Britton doesn’t know how long the project will last, but is encouraged by the participation so far. " have seen at any one time, there has been at least 20-50 visitors to the document, which is pretty remarkable in word processing standards," he says. "I really wanted to attempt to create a community in a single document. The project will come to a natural end, or will be taken down again by Google first."
Play Art Squad here.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot