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The Beck's Green Box Project

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Beer giant Beck’s has a good track record when it comes to innovative art projects – who can forget the artist-designed bottle labels? – and its new venture promises to build on that tradition. The Green Box Project is a worldwide experiment bringing specially-commissioned digital work to life via people’s mobile phones using state-of-the-art augmented reality technology.

Hitting London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Rome and Milan over the coming weeks, it’s an ambitious undertaking which could revolutionise the way the art world works.

Launched in NYC on Independence Day (July 4) the project got off to an eye-catching start by projecting a 200ft high flame shooting from the Statue of Liberty’s torch. The next phase of the scheme launches in Italy today, where green boxes (designed by Jason Bruges) will appear. After downloading the green box app, passers-by can view the artists’ visions come to life in front of them with moving images filtered through their smartphones, IPads or android devices.

The initial set of 30 boxes will showcase some top-quality creatives, including Bompas &Parr, Kate MccGwire, UVA and Petra Storrs. Overseen by Grammy-award-winning producer Sam Speigel and photographer Nick Knight, the plan is to create 1,000 more green boxes over the next 12 months. The company wants creatives around the world to come up with ideas and is stressing that although the cubes may measure just two metres by three metres, the possibilities are limited only by the participants’ imaginations.

The first artists in the European launch are Sage Vaughn and Reed + Rader, both of whose work goes on display in Milan today. Sage’s archetypal wildlife images – where colourful representations of the natural world are overlaid on drab, everyday backgrounds – will take on a whole new dimension with a standard street scene transformed into a natural paradise, with vivid birds flying about and leaves stirring in the wind.

Dynamic photographers Reed + Rader meanwhile have come up with a video-game style collage – think flying models, fairytale animals and cheery balloons assaulting the senses from every direction.

Augmented reality challenges the very notion of a physical gallery space, and Nick Knight believes this project is far more than just a novelty. “This feels like a new art form; the juxtaposition between the world we see and the world we’re going to be allowed to see through the technology," he said. "To me, art is the people’s voice, it’s about people expressing themselves and their position in the world and with this project everybody’s voices can be heard.”

The app is available from Itunes and once downloaded you can find your nearest green box at www.becks.com or on the becksvier Facebook page.

See It’s Nice That next week for exclusive interviews with some of the big names involved.

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.