CenterStage is a 6×11 interactive screen that brings a company’s (namely Samsung’s) full line of products to life in a store. Created by the Barbarian Group, the display is made up of several large displays. It’s claim to fame is in the production of the display. The Barbarian Group partnered with a creative director in order to make the line between broadcasting and interaction disappear. I think this product is important because we are starting to see a real change in retail, one that shifts online, one that values customization more. Displays like this one allow consumers to manipulate, interact, and customize products to make it fit their preferences in a way that could not be done before. Physical stores are having to change rapidly to keep up, and if more stores are able to embrace this kind of “showroom”, I think they have a better chance of surviving.
I think that this products real success lies in its purpose. Not only does it advance the retail environment, but it shows that the retailer is actively innovating and working on cutting edge technology. This in turn reassures investors, gives faith to customers, and adds value to the company. They did a great job of combining art, technology, and customer experience.
If I were to critique the project, I would say they need to look at completely automating the check out process. This would potentially allow retailers to become more automated, and spend less money on retail space and paying employees. If a customer can walk up, customize an appliance, see it against a backdrop of their home, then buy it all in a few touches of some buttons, I think they could easily maintain or improve sales. It saves from having to deal with pushy sales associates trying to make a commission.
In order to create a lot of the photo realistic scenes and a lot of the UI for the display, the creators were inspired by the movement centered around everyday appliances, clothes tumbling, bubbles popping, etc. But honestly I think the most motivation came from the money Samsung was paying them and the opportunity to use the Cinder language which one of the creators helped develop.
Extreme environmental impact, climate change, and the extinction of many different species are hot topics in our socio-political environment. Rihards Vitols, an artist, has created a plan in which some bird species can be replaced by artificial birds should they suddenly go extinct. He’s created artificial woodpeckers that work using a motor to hit a tree that it is mounted on, over and over again. Rihards is currently studying the effects of the artificial birds to see if they actually have an impact or not.
I am impressed by this artist because he is using his art to make a change, more than to make someone think about making a change. His art can do something that is truly impact if the data supports it, and I think even if it doesn’t he would try something else.
If I were to critique the woodpeckers I would say that they look nothing like real birds, and they may be more effective in not disturbing other animals if they looked more natural.
Fiber Optic Ocean
Ozge Samanci has created an art installation that takes in data about live sharks, and live tweets to measure internet usage, and complies it all to create a music and light show. The data is used to create music with pre-recorded choral voices and trombones depending on the movement of the sharks and human internet usage. Fiber optic cables blink, driven by light engines as music plays through speakers. 3D printed shark skeletons are distorted, trapped in a “digital” ocean representing humans in the digital age of corporations. I think it is a great commentary on the current human condition. We are always connected, always busy, destroying the very thing that gives us life.
To critique this project, I would say that adding some sort of manipulation element would be cool to see. If the artist could some how add something that represents humans making a change or not making a change and showing what several years in the future could “sound” and “look” like would be cool. Like if she could flip a switch representing humans helping the environment, or slowing down, the lights would blink less rapidly and the music would get sweeter and vice versa.
Ozge was inspired by witnessing sharks bite undersea fiber optic cables carrying internet data across the ocean. This effect is believed to be the work of magnetic fields surrounding the cables. She took this as a metaphor representing the disconnect of humans from nature in our attempts to communicate with our own species.