Thursday, July 05, 2007

Device Art: Coming to America?

Bringing art to device-type products ...

"Picture the following products: an animated character that you wear around your neck, a clock that shows time in phrases, a stock-market sensitive plant that waters itself. These objects represent a new breed of creative professional work, manifested through projects that equally straddle the worlds of art and design. Part product, part toy, and part sculpture, this new discipline, which academics term "Device Art," allows designers to make user experiences that are carefully crafted, mass produced, and guided by artistic vision rather than a corporate brand or market niche.

Verbarius Electronic Clock by Art. Lebedev is a digital clock that displays time in phrases, encouraging users to think of time in more human terms. Photo Courtesy of Art. Lebedev Studio.

At the moment, we are seeing an explosion of Device Art activity emerging in Japan, with new artwork appearing in such mainstream channels as electronics catalogs and department stores. In the U.S., however, the Device Art landscape is somewhat bare. One would think that the public's voracious appetite for gadgets, combined with the creative community's growing discontent with formulaic, brand-obsessed corporate design would solidly set the stage for this discipline to become a strong cultural force in the U.S., yet it seems relegated to museum boutiques and the back rooms of hipster Japanese toy stores.

What gives?

Just What is Device Art, Anyway?
The term "Device Art" was coined by Machiko Kusahara, Media Scholar at Waseda University in Japan, and adopted by the academic community to describe artists who employ technology to produce message-driven, individually-conceived works, meant to exist outside the limited audience of galleries or museums through mass production and commercial distribution. In this emerging discipline, the object is not a souvenir or by-product of the artist's work, but it is the artwork itself.

In terms of design, Device Art exists less for the user's needs for function or commercial value, as it does for the producer's desire to communicate a message (and the user's interest in receiving the message). This new model can change what it means to be a designer by giving creative professionals the encouragement to develop a personal vision delivered to more viewers."    (Continued via Core77)    [Usability Resources]

The Bitman Project - Usability, User Interface Design

The Bitman Project

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