16 October 2009

Best Buy Art Gallery

Rocketboom | Borna Sammak: Best Buy

I've been wanting galleries to start hanging flat screens on their walls for years to show non-narrative or abstract film and animation.

The past 1000 years of art have shown us that artwork doesn't need to tell a story or represent something concrete. It's okay to look at interesting shapes and pretty colors for their own sake. So why not look at interesting shapes and pretty colors that move?

I talked to a gallery owner in Scottsdale once who said he wanted to display more sculpture, but people didn't buy it because they weren't confident in how to fit it into their homes. He said buyers are always afraid they're going to buy the "wrong" art, which is apparently art which they imagine their more cultured friends will not like. He thought that the very act of putting a sculpture in your home was a more aggressive and more risky proposition in peoples minds compared to hanging a painting or print or photograph.

What does this have to do with video? I'm guessing the same thing is at work: putting a digital display of abstract animation up on your wall is a unusual thing to do and therefor risky no matter what the actual content is. The very fact that it's there is a big statement.

I see a couple of ways around this. One is a DVD which you could play on your television when it isn't in use. I can see people putting something like that on during a cocktail party. As people invest more in their home theater gear this becomes more attractive. I think this use could be pushed by events like the one at Best Buy above. If I was Bang & Olufsen I'd designate one day to turn my retail stores into art galleries every month.

If digital picture frames ever really caught on, such that people would have several in multiple rooms, it might seem less risky to have a moving image hanging on your wall. If the frames were linked with some sort of WiFi Direct protocol this might make it even easier, since you could switch between your photos, digital editions of still art, and moving images and art seamlessly.

Finally, I'd go after corporate clients. An animation displayed in your living room might be a little much for people, but I think they'd fit in a lot of office lobbies, convention centers, hotels, etc.

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