A selection of handpicked sheep drawings are randomly displayed at the present webpage. Refresh the page to view other sheeps.


Aaron Koblin and the online workers of the Mechanical Turk (2006)

Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a system for getting people to do small tasks (called HITs = Human Intelligence Tasks) via an webinterface for small amounts of money. Intended for corporate use, MTurk is based upon the notion that certain tasks are simple for people and difficult for computers. The Sheep Market is perhaps the most interesting application based on MTurk. Each online worker was paid 0.02 $(US) to "draw a sheep facing left", limited to 5 drawings per person.
This collaborative artwork was done in 2006 by Aaron Koblin as a MFA thesis project at the Department of Design - Media Arts at UCLA under the direction of Prof. Casey Reas. Aaron Koblin is an artist, designer and researcher focused on creating and visualizing human systems. He works actually at Google's Creative Lab in San Francisco and is one of the most discussed and thought-provoking contemporary artists. His work has been shown internationally and is part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The latest projects are the Radiohead music video "House of Cards", data visualisations of flight patterns, Bicycle Built for Two Thousand, Ten Thousand Cents, New York Talk Exchange and Visualizing Amsterdam SMS Messages.
The sheep drawings were collected over a period of 40 days, selected, printed on stamps, grouped in blocks of twenty and exhibited on a large wall. Collectible plate blocks with 20 unique lickable stamps with a certificate of authenticity were sold for 20 $US. In addition to images of the sheep, the drawing process was recorded as an animation which drew the sheep onto a screen with the original stroke order used by the artist in a conveyor-like system. This creation process can also be observed at the website. The sheepmarket project was exhibited in Spain, Japan, USA, Australia and the Netherlands and raises questions about the emergence of new labor systems in the infomation age.