Research & Insights

By Joe Childress and Josh Eveleth, August 31, 2010

Arcade Fire releases crowd-built and crowd-curated art project

When you were a kid, did you ever want to be in a famous band? Now you can be part of the next best thing … and you can even tell your younger self about it.

Arcade Fire has collaborated with Google and Chris Milk to set up a crowdsourced art project that anyone with a computer can contribute to and even curate, from anywhere in the world.

Here’s how it works:

By visiting “The Wilderness Downtown” (best viewed in Google Chrome) and entering your childhood address, you can travel down memory lane through the streets you grew up in, accompanied by Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait.”

You can then send your childhood self a note, a drawing, or other art, which gets incorporated into your personalized art project. If you like what you created, you can submit it to Arcade Fire, where it may end up as part of their concert tour.

arcade fire postcard

Every submission to this crowdsourced art project will be curated in real time by CrowdFlower, whose workforce sifts through the messages and identifies stellar — or offensive — content.

Prior to crowdsourcing, a global art project like this (not to mention real-time curation and content moderation by human beings) would have been unthinkable. It’s yet another glimpse of the future you can send to the childhood you.

Please visit to view and contribute to the project. And if you want to help curate, visit