The Meme Hell of r/Place 2022

The internet has once again witnessed the chaos of Reddit's r/Place April Fool's experiment, this time lasting four days from April 1 to April 4.


The internet has once again witnessed the chaos of Reddit'sr/PlaceApril Fool's experiment, this time lasting four days from April 1 to April 4.

The driving mechanic behind r/Place is that users are able to place a coloured pixel on a massive board of pixels provided by Reddit every 5-20 minutes. They can choose the colour and the placement and pixels can be placed over one another.

The experiment has been conducted before back in 2017 andits end productremains a testament to that era of internet history. Especially prominent were a pixellated rendition of r/PrequelMemes copypasta 'The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise', a recreation of theMona Lisa, and a giant rainbow road running diagonally across most of the canvas.

There are a few things that distinguish this year's r/Place from 2017's. Mechanically, 2022's lasted longer by a day, expanded the colour palette on the second and third days, and grew the canvas twice to allow for more space to place pixels.

However, the differences do not end there. 2017 r/Place was marked by a strong sense of chaos, as exemplified by the various cult-like factions that sprung up precisely to cause that chaos: the Rainbow Roaders, the Green Lattice, the Void Swarmers. They all made an appearance again this year but were kept mostly at bay by heavily coordinated factions whose experiences in 2017 had them mobilising quickly to carve out territory.

Streamers were another big factor this time around. Twitch personalities like Hasan Piker, XQC, Mizkif, Asmongold and the (recently banned) Destiny were all active in directing their communities to build their own art or to vandalise that of others. The usual community rivalries played out here,with Destiny fans being particularly effective in protecting their territory while simultaneously ending any attempt of Hasan's to claim canvas space.

In terms of the art itself, there are a lot of noteworthy pieces and themes this year.

Among Uscrewmates were prominent in many ways. At one point, war broke out over a giant crewmate toward the centre of the map, leading to its destruction. Many crewmates were also camouflaged into other artworks, including a large lemon toward the bottom of the canvas.

TheOsuball made another appearance this year and continued to be as formidable as it was in 2017. No raid seemed capable of breaking the ranks of the popular rhythm game's community.

National flags cover much of this year's map and it was interesting to see the politics of real-life play out on the pixel canvas. The Ukrainian flag was heavily contested, Nordic countries worked together, Colombia betraying its South American allies by replacing the Miranda Flag with their own, and large countries with patriotic populations such as Turkey, France and Germany were able to carve out good chunks of territory while the regular thwarting of the United States left its flag smaller in comparison.

And of course, there were plenty of laughs to be had over Canada not being able to get its maple leaf right for a good while.


r/fuckcars were surprisingly successful for a community of their size, staking a claim on quite a few pixels toward the centre of the canvas. Their advocacy for sustainable urbanism appears to be resonating with the internet.

Below r/fuckcars, indie gaming communities worked together to maintain another contentious central position. In their art, you can see characters from the video gamesOmori,Lisa: The PainfulandCeleste, as well as characters from r/PictureGame and theWarrior Catsbook series.

A creative collaboration between thePortalcommunity and the Germans allowed for the German flag to pass through two "portals" to avoid damaging the artwork of these indie communities.

There is far too much in this year's r/Place to touch on in the one article, so fortunately an"atlas"has been put together by devoted Redditors explaining the background behind each and every artwork.

At the end of this year's r/Place, Reddit had another twist: during the last few hours, only white pixels could be placed. The result was that, by the end of the four days, the canvas was completely blank -- a true testament to the transience of internet culture.