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Yono provides the tools and platform for artists to add to an unfolding, branching, intertwined pixel-art matrix, viewable by all.

The KickStarter is over, but Yono has just begun. Go to www.sito.org/yono for all the latest on the project.

I'm developing a collaborative art project called Yono. Yono is a digital art project that lives on a website. Yono is an ever-growing collection of inter-connected pixel-art images, each created by participants from all over the world. 

Each image is created especially to fit inside Yono. The way they fit is that they are inserted between the halves of other artists' images, extending the "parent" image either horizontally or vertically. This process repeats indefinitely, creating an ever-growing branching structure which becomes an interactive webpage-based artwork. The only way to see it all is to explore!

Diagram of five generations of Yono -- from mouse to... what is that, an apple-jacks-o-lantern? (Click to explore it.)
Diagram of five generations of Yono -- from mouse to... what is that, an apple-jacks-o-lantern? (Click to explore it.)

If you've never encountered a collaborative art project like this before, it may be hard to imagine.

To get an idea of how this looks, you really should take a moment to look at the prototype Yono navigator I've developed. This navigator is working from live data, with artists adding work every day. I'm currently wrangling all of the artist and image data by hand. 

I am asking for backers to help me pay for the development of software that will make Yono a self-sustaining automatic service on the Internet. 

Once created, this service will be free to use via a website, and the software will be provided to the open source community. The project will be hosted on SITO.org, a site that has been running several other such projects continuously since 1995!

The specific components of the Yono website endeavor are these:

  • Database and website to allow articipants to sign-up.
  • Database to track all of the panels in a given Yonoverse, and how they connect.
  • Framework for teachers, individual artists, and other distinct groups to generate their own moderated or private Yono projects.
  • Web-based pixel-art drawing tool.
  • A community framework to comment on, favorite, flag, like, tag, plus, etc. the panels and artists.
  • Robust navigator (web-based) that will run on all major browsers and work with touch-controls on mobile tablets and smart-phones.
  • User-interface design and implementation.

Here is a video which focuses on how images fit into the Yonoverse, and a little about the history of SITO.

Participation in Yono is free. Browsing Yono is free. It is all free. And by free, we mean no cost and no advertisements.

Articipants will add pieces to the project based on simple rules and guidelines, playing off one another's images and working together to create splendid and surprising sequences. All will be contributing to one large branching structure of interconnected images.

Have you looked at the Yono navigator yet?

If you've ever seen one of those "fold-ins" from Mad Magazine, you have an idea of how Yono will work. Except Yono will continually expand, folding out and out and out. Not only horizontally though -- vertically too!

Imagine a square drawing, then imagine cutting that image in half vertically or horizontally and making space for another square image between those halves.  That new square is filled with an image that ideally acts as a bridge between the split parts.  The result is now one longer image by two different artists.

Now imagine that process repeated over and over, the image getting wider and wider or taller and taller.

What would that look like?  How would we navigate that ever expanding (and collapsing) network of images?  How would we maintain visual continuity with so many different artists and styles?  How would we automate that process to make it easy for artists to participate?  How would we maintain peace?  What would it feel like to add pieces to this ever-growing "structure"?

Good questions.  We have a lot of ideas, some answers, and a lot of experience managing automated collaborative art projects on the Internet.

We are Jon Van Oast and Ed Stastny.  We've been creating and hosting art projects on a site called SITO since 1993.  Some of those projects have won electronic art awards (e.g. HyGrid in 1996 at Prix Ars Electronica).  Some have been running for over a decade (and a half!) -- HyGrid and Gridcosm.

We're both software engineers and creative thinkers and have been active in self-publishing, the video game industry, website development, graphic art, animation and coffee-drinking (mostly Stumptown Coffee) for over 20 years.

Money pledged will be used primarily to pay for the services of two dedicated software developers and a visual artist for the period of two months.  Some funds will be set aside for the generation of the rewards on offer and other overhead associated with crowd-funding.

Web-hosting is covered thanks to the generous Novia.net.  

Most of what we'll be doing is software development, including:

  • The web-server side of things (databases, image storing, image processing)
  • Web-based pixel-art drawing tools (HTML5, JavaScript)
  • Web-based viewing software which will allow anyone to navigate the unfolding/refolding topography of the art, identify the artist(s), share favorite views, etc. (HTML5, JavaScript)
  • Community framework for commenting, tagging, liking, plussing, flagging, bookmarking, upvoting, and otherwise giving personal context to the images that are created and emerge in Yono. (Drupal, social APIs)
  • Customization framework for teachers, solo artists, and other organizers to set up their own private versions of Yono with custom rules, parameters, curation, and sizes. All hosted free on SITO.
  • Making sure the viewing and drawing tools work on most major web-browsers, including iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Just one example of how the simple branching image data of Yono can be interpreted.
Just one example of how the simple branching image data of Yono can be interpreted.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions you have. Find us on Facebook via the SITO.org page.

You can keep up with nitty-gritty details and beta-test images on the official Yono webpage.

For you completists, here's the second pitch video, highlighting the navigator:

FAQ

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    [ PIXEL PERFECT ] Every pixel counts! Thank you.

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    8 backers

    [ IN LIGHTS ] Your name will be rendered in pixel-letters on the backers page of the site.

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    [ FACE IT! ] We'll put a small (8x8 or 16x16) pixel-art portrait of you on your backer credit image!

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    4 backers All gone!

    [ SPARKLY ] You'll be granted pixel art canvas for you to fill in, which will be displayed on the backers page of the site.

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    [ BLINKY ] An *animated* GIF pixel-art listing among the backers. Created by you or us.

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    12 backers

    [ BLINKY ] Your pixel-portrait and image in the backer list will be animated with sparkly background and blinking eyes, and you will receive a commemorative Yono sticker or card in the mail.

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    7 backers

    [ COMMEMORATIVE BOOKLET ] Special 24-page booklet featuring the pixel-art Yono pieces developed during the KickStarter campaign. Book size: 5.25" x 3.5". And the [BLINKY] reward. For backers outside the US, please add $10 to pledge for shipping costs.

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    [ SHIRTY ] A SITO t-shirt printed just for this KickStarter campaign. Also the [BLINKY] reward. For shipping outside the US, please add $10 to your pledge.

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    5 backers

    [ SHIRTY ] A SITO t-shirt printed just for this KickStarter campaign. Also the [COMMEMORATIVE BOOKLET] reward. For shipping outside the US, please add $10 to your pledge.

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    4 backers Limited (36 left of 40)

    [ SUPER BACKER ] A pixel-art caricature of you in the "Super Backers Group Portrait". Plus the [SHIRTY] reward. For shipping outside the US, please add $10 to your pledge.

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    1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)

    [ COMPLEAT COMMEMORATIVE BOOK ] You'll receive the [SUPER BACKER ] reward, and a special hardcover 10"x10" coffee-table book with 36 pages of Yono's prototype pieces vividly reproduced. Signed by all Portland contributors, including Yono's creators. This book is only available to collaborators and backing this KickStarter.

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Funding period

- (30 days)