DGTL12002 – Week 4

The Johnny Cash Project


Aaron Koblin created a crowdsourced music video for the Johnny Cash song, “Aint No Grave” – the title track off the last album that Cash recorded prior to his death.

The Johnny Cash Project is a collaborative online art project, in which anyone can draw a portrait of Johnny Cash, using an online drawing tool (Frey 2013).  These images weave together to create an ever changing work of art (Ehrich 2010).

Frey (2013) claims that as of September 2010, over 250,000 people from 172 countries have participated in this online project.  The project is innovative in terms of social media as it is a simple design and the toolset enables anyone to contribute, they do not necessary have to be creative to make and submit a drawing.  Participants also feel drawn into Johnny’s life and world.

For those people who admire Johnny Cash’s music, this is a profoundly personal way to share their creativity.  The video is testament to Johnny Cash’s legacy but the power of imagination, inspirations and technological ingenuity.  Each of these frames were created by a stranger, yet taken together we have a cohesive whole that shares the imagery and themes of music, religion, life and spirituality.  When a creative project such as this crowdsourced, it relates to people internationally, encouraging participation and collaboration.  The end result is an organic piece of visual technology composed of a global catalogue of illustrations and impressions of a musical genius (Abingham 2010).

This project allows people to come together and contribute ideas that it is very much similar to social media.

In order for crowdsourcing to work, a large amount of people with the same interests and convictions need to come together at the sample place and same time.  Social media is all about common ground.  People connect with likeminded people based on the values that they share with them.

Social media and crowdsourcing do not work in isolation from one another.  Social media helps spread the word about crowdsourcing projects and reaches out to users who might be able to contribute meaningfully to a new project.  It also helps build positive image for the project and encourages action on part of the user, making the crowd sourced project more robust.

Crowdsourcing and social media are two great developments that had the opportunity of gaining traction around the same time.  Individually each one of them has the power to change lives and build fortunes, Fraser (n.d).

In Social Networks, members of a crowd form a network of relationships that, depending on the context, might translate into levels of trust, similarity of taste and viewpoints, or other common characteristics that might cause individuals to feel an affinity for one another.


Fraser, J, n.d. Daily Crowdsource, ‘What Happens When Crowdsourcing and Social Media Merge’,

Frey, C 2013, The Johnny Cash Project:  A Unique Take on Crowdsourcing, viewed 20 August 2016, http://www.innovationmanagement.se

Ehrlich, B 2010, MashableAustralia, ‘Crowd-Sourced Johnny Cash Music Video Is a Work of Digital Art, viewed 22 August 2016, http://www.mashable.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s