The Beck’s Green Box project has landed in London, with record label/artists’ collective LuckyMe stepping up to the plate along with Austra. In the second of our features on the project – hailed as the world’s first augmented reality gallery – we spoke to Dom Sum Flannigan, creative director of LuckyMe about its contribution, and what it all might mean for the art world.
LuckyMe traces its roots back to the Glasgow School of Art where the strong local music scene and the visual communication course had a heady, two-way relationship. Starting life as a record label releasing hip-hop, pop, experimental and underground dance, LuckyMe has gone from strength to strength, organising events, legendary parties and designing art for the music industry.
“The Green Box Project came together very quickly,” Dom told It’s Nice That. “Our contribution is a synopsis of the releases so far and so drew from the visual identity of each of our artists.
“In brief, we’re making these 2.5 metre 3D eyeballs appear to float in the street and as you walk around the green box, it will know you have moved and so it will change to the next eyeball, each representing and playing our artists’ music. The style of the eyes were informed by the B-side labels on our 12"s – which have changed for each release.”
Original thoughts around producing a noise-cancelling box that silenced the street traffic through the users’ headphones had to be jettisoned because it was too complex, but Dom is delighted with what LuckyMe has ultimately produced.
“In the end I decided what this technology allowed us to do is represent what we’ve already created with the label in one really accessible new multi-media format. Extrude the print design to 3D – give it a sympathetic feel of movement and animation and place it along side the music, spinning and rotating just as the 12" would.
“I think what we have now is a bold representation of our music – a surreal live music player.”
Dom is no stranger to the idea of augmented reality (AR), having played with the concept at art school and he won an award at YCN with what he calls ‘site specific print-based AR.’
“I’ve since specialised in more and more print work (largely for record sleeve designs) and more and more sculptural work (for events and commissions). There’s been something consistent then in this project, that meant fusing 2D surface in 3D was fairly straightforward to me. I was certainly thinking in these terms already.”
And though he is excited about the possibilities AR opens up, does he believe it’s the future of the creative industries?
“No, I don’t think so. I watched Lawnmower Man recently and poured out my drink for virtual reality headsets – so I’m all too aware that AR is nothing new.
“I think it’s a great medium and AR in its widest sense – as overlay of the digital onto the real world – will no doubt become a part of our lives, and inherently anything that becomes the orthodoxy will be subverted in really nice ways by artists and the subculture.
“But I gotta say that a world of AR graffiti and advertising is really depressing to me. What I like about this technology at this moment in time is that it’s creatively open and very passive. It intrigues the user to take part, it doesn’t shout at them.
“And I’m confident that our All Seeing Eyes are cool and weird enough to be worth hunting down.”
The Lucky Me box is launching soon.