Walking upright is a uniquely human characteristic. What better way to connect thousands from all walks of life (ha!) than to have them take a walk together — on the Internet?
This spring, Blipfoto, an online photo-a-day community, called out for photo contributions of people in various stages of the human gait. (Reminiscent of Muybridge, perhaps?) A custom iPhone app and editing tool ensured that the submitted photos were uniformly cropped and positioned. The final product — a short film, titled life.turns. — depicts the act of walking as performed by a thousand people. Stop-motion "walking" has been done before — with a single walker and a team of professional producers — but never with user-generated content.
The founder of Blipfoto, Joe Tree, described the film as "an exploration of what could be achieved with a big idea and simple technology, which enables anyone to take part." The effect is dizzying, but it's fun to spot the oddities: the guy with the bag on his head, the zombie, the occasional sleeping baby.
It's natural for a community of creative people to collaborate; why should that be any different online? Poetically, the film brings people together in a simple act, in the physically impossible — i.e., by taking a walk together. "At the end of the day," writes Tree, "the charm isn't in any of the individual images — it's about what happens when all these disparate little scenes of everyday life come together and create something incredibly special."