Play with us!

May 12, 2008

thisissand.com is a website for play. It changes the pixels on the screen into digital sand that can be used as building material for cosmic landscapes, Clemens-style sand paintings, mandalas and so on.

This is a joint project of the designers Johanna Lundberg and Jenna Sutela with the Flash programmer Timo Koro. We wanted to create a playground of colours and sound for people to play with us in our sandbox – within the computer screen.

The digital sandbox on thisissand.com takes after the physical one. The user is allowed to do what he or she wishes with the elements in the sandbox. Sometimes the resulting pieces are expressive, sometimes they become more abstract. And just as a real world sandbox, the one on thisissand.com can be smoothed out and re-sculpted again time after time.

Just like the actual sand gets its colour from its origins, the sand used on thisissand.com covers the RGB palette natural to digital environments. Also the sounds of the falling sand on thisissand.com resemble a real life phenomenon: singing sand is discovered in about 35 desert locations around the world where the wind triggers a low-pitch sound in the natural sand. Instead of nature’s frequencies the digital sand generates white noise, which is a random signal with a flat power density. It is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies – like the RGB sand on thisissand.com.

The specialities of the digital sand lie in the possibility of saving the original pieces of sand art in the gallery or printing them out. thisissand.com can also be used year-round, anywhere and anytime. The sand doesn’t fall or wear out.

We are adopting the Fluxus attitude and experimenting with perceived connections between everyday artefacts, intermediality, art and play. There is no such thing as a linear plot or a particular set of expectations on thisissand.com: it is a place for recreation and fun, and an eternal work in progress.

Contact us at thisissand@gmail.com!

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63 Responses to “Play with us!”

  1. Karen Says:

    I would like to use this screensaver Help w instructions? Thank you!

  2. Alan Babcock Says:

    Great work, thank you

  3. thisissand Says:

    Hello! How about a screenshot for now?


  4. [...] if you’re curious, here’s a little more detail.   But I think you should play [...]

  5. Carol Says:

    What a great art tool! Is there anyway to make a smaller design area?


  6. [...] which I had no idea about “I want to punch something in the face” @ ask metafilter Digital Sandbox for leisure and play William Hazlit’s essay, “On the Pleasures of Hating” How to [...]


  7. This is fun. My grandaughter will enjoy it a lot

  8. rasberry Says:

    hi i have to admit this website is good and dont add me on your emails so you can email me i dont want you to!!!!

  9. rasberry Says:

    this website is very good for childrean under 10

  10. reaper Says:

    this website is cool. you can make lots of cool pics. i made 2 so far and i added it to the gallery. pur in search reaper to find them.

  11. Chloe Wilson Says:

    This is sand.com rocks

  12. Keaton Says:

    Wooow, great idea.
    Filled in a lot of time in computer classes.

  13. kike Says:

    cool i really like this game sooooooooooooo much i made 10 pics alredy

  14. Destiny Says:

    i love making creations on this site when im angry, the sound of the sand falling from the curser is very relaxing!

  15. Fig Ferrell Says:

    I work in an elementary school. My students LOVE this website. However, they have discovered that there are some very sexually explicit sandart creations. I wish an alternate website–thisissand4kids–could be created which wouldn’t allow posting or viewing of a gallery. That way, young kids could still enjoy the process without the potential for viewing inappropriate pictures.

    • Betsy Neelly Says:

      Hi…I just submitted a very similar post just now…then went back and saw yours. It’s such a shame as my K-1 graders really LOVE this site. I have received several emails from concerned parents.

    • Betsy Neelly Says:

      I have received several emails from concerned parents.

  16. sieon Says:

    eing?? in spanish please!!

  17. dona Says:

    can ya download it for your desk top?

  18. kattie Says:

    I love this website. How did you think it up?!

  19. Elizabeth Says:

    This site is awesome it is so much fun.


  20. this is sand is the most awesome website in the world! i love it! i could play on it all day and i could fill up a whole page. my friend showed it to me and i have been going on ever since!

  21. Mary Arnold Says:

    Thank you so much. It’s lovely to play with. I’ll be showing this to my students so they can also play when they finish their lesson.

  22. Betsy Neelly Says:

    Hi I am an elementary librarian and my students K-5 really enjoy your website. However, it has come to my attention that some of the titles that people give their artwork are really x-rated. I don’t want to do it but I guess that I’ll have to take thisissand.com off our favorites. Is there a possibility that you could take off the title from works submitted? Thanks!


  23. it is the best art website evera

  24. maria Says:

    hola quiesiera saver comop poner mi divujo aqui

  25. countrygirl Says:

    “I work in an elementary school. My students LOVE this website. However, they have discovered that there are some very sexually explicit sandart creations. I wish an alternate website–thisissand4kids–could be created which wouldn’t allow posting or viewing of a gallery. That way, young kids could still enjoy the process without the potential for viewing inappropriate pictures.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. My students want to see the “most popular” ones on here but I cannot show them to them. I have to watch them very closely to make sure they don’t get into the gallery to look at those explicit images. I of course don’t mind supervising them, but I know some of these kids will get on this site at home. It would make me feel better if this was on a kid-friendly site. I second the above suggestion.

    Other than that, this is an AWESOME site! It works great on the Smart Board! :)


  26. ThisIsSand.com Is AMAZING! I love it!
    if you wanna be my friend on anything, Find me at Facebook.com~Kerri Godfrey, Facebook.com/ilovegarrow
    Or at Tumblr.com~ xhardcorex.tumblr.com <33 whoever created this is AMMMAAAZZZIIINNGGG!!!! <3<3<3333


  27. ur stu….pid ’cause u reek of despreation.

  28. jenna Says:

    how do u change the colorers on this

  29. Margs Says:

    I love this game, but it takes wayyyyy to long to make a picture, is there any way you could make the space smaller, or provide a choice of small or full screen?
    also could you add a tool that you could push the sand over with?
    i want to be able to use more tehniques in this. :)
    thanks,
    keep it up :)

  30. Katie Blue Says:

    This website is fun, and creative! You can make so many amazing designs with sand! It’s amazing what sand can do!

  31. Ryan Says:

    http://www.thisissand.com/gallery/ is not loading today and i wanted to know whether it was my computer or the site.

    • mopo Says:

      it’s not loading for me either, 3 months later…

    • maddison Says:

      Hi Ryan.Did you see my sand picture?But if you did not see my picture gust go to the slide of the pictures and tip maddy to see my pictures I’mon the 4 slide and my pictureis in the4th row and the 7th picture and my pictures name is colorful mastpiece.Do you live in W.I?I do live W.I and how old are you? Gust asking.So bey.from:Maddison

  32. dfasfasd Says:

    fklasd;jgasjdfksjfa;
    i am astusished

  33. Makenna Says:

    Bad u have to get specific things

  34. beatrice Says:

    i wish i could make my pixel sand pictures as my computer screen savers its fun and peaceful!!!! :)

  35. emily Says:

    nice way of puttin it

  36. Morgan Says:

    hey how do you save on your desktop

  37. Morgan Says:

    hey i am candy and how do you save this disghn on your descktop

  38. Alice Says:

    I have just disovered this game and love it. I think that there should be an app on iTunes for the game that we could play on an iPhone or iPad. I would be willing to pay about $0.99 cent for a thisissand app. Reply on this comment if you agree!

  39. Alice Says:

    how do you print/save your sand creations???????????????????

  40. Erik Says:

    Hi, i would like to give you an idea, for your web site “this is sand”,

    I think, will be great, if you place on the web site one little point. So when you click on the point, the screen just rotate… (from left to right smthg like that). What you get is to imitate the cool effect of “Falling sand toy” – like this

  41. mopo Says:

    you guys should make a mac app of this so we can use this offline. and maybe an iOS app as well?

  42. maddison Says:

    This fun to do this is sand and I did one to it has many colors but I do not now how to send it to you so send back bey

  43. Louie T. Says:

    How do I keep the same color??

  44. KAYLEE Says:

    HOW DO YOU MACK SAND HILLS WELL I KNOW HOW BUT I DONT KNOW WERE

  45. Jack Says:

    If you click the “sort by view count” option in the gallery, one of the top ones (an anime/manga-style girl together with Japanese text, labeled “moi | moi | 27.02.2009″) was clearly drawn with another method, as there is no sand grain texture in the picture. A slight random sand grain texture is unavoidable unless a person cheats and somehow uploads a picture from off-site. The image doesn’t belong in the gallery next to people’s original sand work.

  46. Jetta Says:

    Some weird face turned up in my sand :O


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