You know how when you go to a museum and find a fascinating piece of art hanging on the wall, you can stare at it for hours and find something new with each passing minute?
Well, artist David Datuna has created the ultimate viewing experience that actually interacts and talks back to you, making you want to stay and stare for a while. Introducing Viewpoints of Billions, a giant American flag covered with eyeglass lenses and tiny pop culture images hidden underneath. This piece is paired with Google's latest marvel, Glass.
Within the artistic contraption are tiny hidden cameras that record your experience and post it online and via social media. If you opt out of the full experience, you will just be seeing random videos on your tiny Glass screen. We, of course, opted in for the full Monty and left our mark in the virtual universe (and Datuna's website).
The hidden cameras and other sensors in the piece work with the Glass to know where exactly you are standing and what you are looking at. Nathan Russak, from Brick Simple who walked us through our experience, explained that when you look at certain sections of the piece, Glass will pull a random video pertaining to that section to show you. When we were staring at Justin Timberlake, for example, we didn't see his sexy back, but instead a black and white interview of Andy Warhol popped into our sight.
Det Ansinn, President and Founder of Brick Simple, refers to himself and his team as "digital artists," and says it was an amazing experience for him getting to work with a visual artist on this project: "It's challenging and fun for us, and as technologists, we like new challenges." At Brick Simple, they develop applications and games for Glass; they did the first game on Google Glass, the first medical device integration, first car integration, and now they're doing the first art integration and installation, he says.
When you put on the Glass, "what happens is you'll be given videos, photos, and other type of engagement that compliment the areas you're looking at in the piece. And if you opt-in, the piece will take pictures of you and record video," says Ansinn.
"The piece may ask you questions, and what you see at that time and what the piece sees looking back at you is all recorded and posted on social media at Datuna.com," he adds. Basically, you're standing there talking to yourself when the Glass says, "Would you like to opt in?" or "Can you imagine life without technology?" You'll be like one of those Bluetooth earpiece-wearing people, except this time it's for art, so you're cool, bro.
Ilana Vardy and Fran Kaufman, from KV Projects and consultants on the project, said they believe they can accommodate at least 700 people a day while the piece is at the Design District. Users sign up for the experience with their cellphone number, and will receive a text letting them know when it's time to head back and learn to use Glass.
Kaufman describes her experience working with Datuna and Google as "extraordinary... I've been involved in the art world for a long time, and I've never interacted with a piece quite this way; it's very unique." She goes on to explain how the piece changes and adjusts depending on the person, "hence the name Viewpoints of Billions."
Vardy says Datuna's motivation behind the piece is to bring the world together through art and technology. The goal of his "Viewpoints of Millions" series, and now his Viewpoints of Billions, is "about raising questions to the viewer to consider, so whether it's political or cultural or current events or historical events, he's always raising questions that he wants people to think about," says Vardy.
"Anybody who interacts with it becomes a permanent part of it. It belongs to everybody."
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After Art Basel, Viewpoints of Billions will be on display in New York City, and from there the plan is to have it travel across the US collecting various and varied viewpoints and eventually end up a museum.
Starting today, December 4, the Viewpoints of Billions flag will be at the Design District, on the corner of NE 40th St. and 1st Ave., from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily throughout Art Basel. The public is invited to try on Google Glass and interact with Datuna's piece. There will be shuttle services available from Midtown to the Design District at various times, visit Datuna.com/address for times and pick up stops.
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