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dafurwall.jpg
a matrix of 400,000 sequential numbers, 1 for each person killed in the Darfur genocide. online visitors can donate 1 dollar or more to turn a number from dark gray to brilliant white & honor 1 lost life.

the 'zoom out' map shows that people select numbers in a relatively evenly distributed pattern.

see also million dollar homepage.

[link: darfurwall.org|via turbulence.org]

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dafurwall2.gif

9 COMMENTS

The uniform random distribution of dots probably has something to do with this statement on the donation form: "You are lighting number 150. We will also light a random number for each dollar over $1." The site also mentions that the average donation is about $14, so for every dot that someone chose, there are 13 others selected at random.

Fri 15 Dec 2006 at 3:24 AM

thnkx for the insight, Brian!

somehow I would instead have loved to see the emergent patterns of people's positional choices...

Fri 15 Dec 2006 at 9:45 AM
infosthetics

Mistake in the title. "Dafur" instead of "Darfur"

Fri 15 Dec 2006 at 2:05 PM
Bob

Thanks for posting, infosthetics. You drove a lot of traffic to our site today.

Brian, you're right: The apparently random distribution is due to randomly assigned numbers on donations larger than one dollar.

You'll notice that more dots are filled in the top left. That's because when someone clicks the "donate" link, we randomly select one of the first 100 unlit numbers. So, roughly speaking, we should see the wall light as you read: across the first row, then the second, and so on.

I would also have loved to see the distribution of people's personal choices, but performance and simplicity of implementation won out.

Thank you again for posting!

Jonah

Fri 15 Dec 2006 at 6:07 PM

It's a very clever idea, and beautifully implemented, and I hope all the black fades to white.

An interesting possibility is people lighting up numbers strategically in order to spell out a message. ("Hi Mom!") The random background makes this a little harder, but not impossible, and the fact that the patterns will gradually disappear is kind of nice in a way.

Sat 16 Dec 2006 at 11:54 AM

In fact, someone designed a Space Invaders monster. Check around number 75606, on the 8th panel. I also took a screenshot here :

http://guillermito2.net/tmp/darfur.gif

I think the possibility of creating designs would be a funny addition (even if this is not supposed to be fun), although a bit more complex to implement. If one does it "by hand" as the Space Invader above, then it has to pay one dollar each time, and Paypal will keep 60 cents out of each dollar, because of their fee scheme. So it's not good.

Anyway. Beautiful idea, nice implementation, and I even love the black and white design. I just proposed the Darfur Wall to BoingBoing.

Sat 16 Dec 2006 at 11:48 PM

Ah damn, I didn't realize that the space invader is actually sliced in 4 horizontal pieces in the pixel map (number and pixels matrices are not in phase), and they are the ones we see in your screenshot. Actually, your big screenshot was taken when the space invader was apparently still in construction :)

Sun 17 Dec 2006 at 12:17 AM

So how does a space invader honor victims of genocide? It doesn't, but instead points out the most problematic part of this project, which is that it uses arbitrary numbers to stand for people. Substitute any other statistic -- number of car crashes, harp seals clubbed, tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere -- and it works the same way, which is one indication that it's essentially meaningless. If the goal is to make people take note of Darfur, one direction would be to try to show what's behind the statistics, to put a personal face on a tragedy. This project took an opposite direction, abstracting the statistics even further, basically turning what could be powerful numbers into meaningless bitmap patterns. This is not thoughtful information design, but simply MacPaint, genocide edition.

Wed 20 Dec 2006 at 4:03 AM
J.

If you liked the image, you will like this: http://darfurwall.org/animation

Wed 20 Dec 2006 at 4:41 PM
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