Storytelling is essential to nearly every art form. Whether it’s a song, a film, a painting, or a performance, we gravitate towards stories because they help us reflect upon the world around us or transport us to a new one.
Electric Objects is an innovative company telling stories through modern, digital art by mounting unique pieces on walls everywhere. The concept is an Internet-connected display designed specifically for discovering and enjoying digital art. Collectors can choose from thousands of pieces ranging from high definition photography to animation, video and generative art — all from the ease of a cell phone. Simply log on, select a work of art from the EO database or upload an image you’ve found yourself, and in seconds it shows up big and bright on your wall.
When you purchase the product, EO1, you’re given access to the Electric Objects community where artists can upload and share work. EO also commissions masterpieces through Art Club, a hub for original art made just for the Electric Objects squad – incredible artists like Björk, Ai Wei Wei, YACHT, and Sabrina Ratte have contributed.
AZ spoke with Zoë Salditch, co-founder and head curator at EO, to chat about digital art disrupting the traditional art industry.
Art Zealous: How did Electric Objects come about?
Zoë Salditch: Electric Objects came out of the desire to have a more persistent experience with digital art in our homes. Every day artists are publishing and sharing their work on platforms like Tumblr and we only spend a fraction of a second with these artworks, clicking the like button, before moving on to the next post. We wanted to find a way to bring this art out of our computers and into our homes, just like prints and photographs, so we created EO1 to do just that.
AZ: How does Electric Objects work?
ZS: EO1 is designed to blend into your home and highlight the artwork, just like the frames of prints and photographs. It’s connected to your WiFi and you can control the artwork through the EO app on your smartphone.
Coloured Spatial Diagrams by Will Hurt
AZ: Please tell us about the Electric Objects app as well as the Art Club.
ZS: The app is essentially your remote control for EO1. You can browse art from Art Club (artwork made specifically for Electric Objects), or community submitted art, or upload your own art and display it quickly and easily. You can even curate playlists to automatically rotate through your favorite art works to your mood, time of year, or whatever your heart desires.
Art Club is our ever-growing collection of art made specifically for Electric Objects. Participating artists receive a stipend plus a free EO1, and collaborate with our development team throughout their residency. In 2016, we announced the Art Club Fund – $100,000 to commission new art for Electric Objects. The purpose of the program is to support digital artists and foster creative expression for this emerging technology, and to incorporate their feedback into our development process.
AZ: You’ve partnered with artists like Björk, Ai Weiwei, YACHT, and Sabrina Ratte, and fantastic institutions like The Cooper Hewitt Museum, The New York Public Library, Tumblr, and Ghostly. Please tell me about those partnerships and what it was like working with such high caliber artists.
ZS: It’s humbling to have partnered with immense talents like Ai Weiwei and Björk, as well as venerable institutions like The Cooper-Hewitt. It’s also incredibly promising for the field of digital art – It’s a signal that this nascent community is gaining traction and recognition in the greater art and design worlds.
AZ: How do you think digital art is changing the traditional art landscape and industry?
ZS: In the same way that the iPod changed the way we listened to digital music, EO1 is changing the way we view and appreciate digital art in our homes. As we’ve become more and more comfortable with technology permeating every aspect of our lives, we’ve come to understand that there isn’t much a difference between paint and pixels when it comes to the value they bring to creative expression. And because we’re valuing digital art more and more, things like EO1 become important because they give theses artworks which feel immaterial and ephemeral a sense of objecthood and persistence.
I think it can be easy to say that digital art is disrupting the traditional art industry, but the reality is that it’s expanding what we consider art.
Purchase EO1 here