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“…if every person drew a perfect sheep they would all be the same and it would be a horrible project. It’s actually seeing the ways that people fail, the different intricacies and character that comes from the individual that adds a lot. You see that in all data visualization, it’s the little variations that give the character and make it interesting.”
Aaron Koblin, Author, in BBH Labs
Combining crowdsourcing with data-driven storytelling, Aaron Koblin’s The Sheep Market is a single page website that is both funny and a darker social commentary on work in the digital age. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourced labor platform, Koblin sourced 10,000 digital drawings of sheep from thousands of anonymous workers paid $0.02 per drawing.
The project page features a visualization of each sheep drawing in miniature which, when selected, shows the figure being redrawn as it was by its unknown participant. Site visitors can share unique sheep from the massive collection or take up an offer to “Buy this Sheep” as part of a collection of stamps. A small digital placard also shares other data culled from the project, like average time spent drawing a sheep, number of drawings rejected, and average wage earned by each participant. The project is a poignant reflection on the anonymity, economics, and humanity at play in the vast fields of the Internet.