Remember Hollywood Squares, the 1990s American quiz show in which panelists—including a definitely-not-high Whoopi Goldberg—were seated in three stacked tiers, each of which contained 3 boxes? There were audience participants, sure, but Hollywood Squares was really about the interaction between the boxes in its 3×3 grid.
If Whoopi and her eight aged colleagues had been replaced with animated gifs, it would have looked something like 9 Squares, a bimonthly digital art project currently being hosted on Tumblr. Every two weeks, nine designers / animators are given a four-color palette and asked to create a three-second-long animated square gif. The end results are then arranged in a 3×3 grid on 9 Squares’ Tumblr.
Like Hollywood Squares, 9 Squares’ discussion is as much between the boxes in the grid as it is with the viewer. Each grid offers a reminder of how artists can reach dramatically different results when starting from the same raw materials. Despite these differences, patterns can be spotted in each grid: one week it may be a circular shape, another it may be an opening-and-closing motion that resembles an abstracted clamshell.
9 Squares is an ongoing dialogue about creativity that, even in the absence of a television show’s carefully produced structure, produces stunningly revelatory moments.