DAVID DATUNA CREATES NEW VISUAL LANGUAGE WITH HIS FIRST INSTALLATION FROM HIS GROUNDBREAKING VIEWPOINT OF BILLIONS SERIES
'Viewpoint of Billions,' was a groundbreaking interactive artwork by artist David Datuna. It served as a social experiment with the 1st generation wearable technology Google Glass with plans to evolve with future generations of wearables. Glass is understood as an early version of version of wearable technology similar to the brick cellphone in concept. As the TV. computers and the cellphone evolved, so will wearables right before our eyes. It is hard to see how wearables will become a part of our daily live at this moment in time, but it is always that way with monumental advances. David Datuna's Viewpoit of Billions series will explore and experiment with this phenomenom as it serves as a mark in history. The first installation in the series Portrait of America became the first large scale interaction with wearables in the world, through art.
Quotes on the success of the project from Smithsonian Magazine:
"For three days, more than 23,000 visitors waited in long lines to participate in what became a blockbuster event"
"As a work of art, Portrait of America marks a dynamic contemporary moment in the intersection of culture and technology. Datuna, an émigré from Soviet Georgia, used Google Glass as a 21st-century tool to illustrate the nation’s continuing sense of “E Pluribus Unum.” The flag’s symbolism conveys the idea that, despite today’s cultural fragmentation and diversity, we are somehow still bound together, one from many."
"Artist David Datuna has created a groundbreaking installation"
One of the most important aspects that was paramount to the project was not letting technology get in the way of the art–the technology was meant to work as a high-tech tool of engagement. 'Portrait of America,' the seminal work of David Datuna’s “Viewpoint of Billions” series, a 12-foot multi-media flag that became the first public installation and artwork in the world to utilize first generation wearable technology, with an early verion of Google Glass. The vision of an artist whose story is akin to the American dream, 'Portrait of America' chronicles the journey of a diverse and great nation through a new visual language as viewers interacted with the work.
"It's not about technology, it is about engagement. As artists we have to look at new and creative ways to engage a 21st Century audience. Google Glass is merely a tool to assist with expanding my narrative. I predict new tools like Glass and wearable technologies in general, will become part of a growing list of innovations for the art world in general to explore, in a variety of ways. I am sure wearables will rapidly evolve from the crude early versions like Glass. That is when they will become more relevant, just like the TV, computers and cellphones did, nobody in the begining would have thought they would become all that they are in our society. It's important to understand, I'm not a technology artist. I am merely looking for ways to engage a 21st Century in meaningful ways with my traditional works of art. My concept behind including Glass is clear, how do I reach the most diverse and widest possible audience on a large scale to communicate my messages? We are at such an exciting crossroads in our society, in a world filled with innovation and access to information. What we all do with this information and innovation will ultimately shape our future in positive or negative ways. The Viewpoint of Billions series will explores our past, present and challenges us to create an exciting and rewarding future." David Datuna, Artist
The monumental flag, the first of possibly 10 works in the "Viewpoint of Billions" series, is covered in Datuna's signature style with hundreds of eyeglass lenses. The series is designed to create a experiential dialogue through a sculptural veil of optics to draw the viewer to the thematic collage inside his work. The prismatic effects invite inspection, while offering a vehicle for observation, and expanding the definition of modern portraiture.
Portrait of America in particular is a fascinating exploration of the American spirit and of individuals whose contributions have helped form, guide and define the United States as a culture and a nation. Many of the embedded images in the artwork include such disparate historical and contemporary figures as George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., even Lady Gaga. Each resonates, in different ways, with a multi-cultural American audience. Poignant moments revealed within the flag recall generations of innovators who often dared to be different—figures like Vint Cerf, Nicholas Tesla, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, Lucille Ball and dozens more.
Portrait of America is a dramatic visual expansion of his conceptual work, creating a seamless way for the artist to extend his vision to the viewer through instant access to information and advanced sharing capabilities. Using this Twenty-First Century tool, Datuna's visual language is fused with fragments of collective experience define much of what is distinct in American culture. The themes provide not opinion, but a roadmap to identity and history, encouraging people to thoughtfully consider, ponder and respect individual viewpoints. The unique technological capabilities of Glass adds another dimension to the traditional pieces the artist has been creating for nearly a decade.
"It's not just about technology, it's about the thoughtful and deliberate ways that artists can broaden our horizons. When you give a visionary like David Datuna new tools and put a device like Google Glass in the hands of the public - amazing things happen,” said Nik Apostolides, National Portrait Gallery. “That's what a museum like ours is all about: new and creative forms of expression that connect history, biography, and art. Throughout the years, new Americans who come to our shores seeking values like justice and freedom of expression can give us a fresh appreciation of everything that is unique and important about our nation. David is a true pioneer."
"This was one of the largest audiences I can remember turning out for a specific artist installation at the National Portrait Gallery in over 30 years" said Amy Henderson, Cultural Historian at the National Portrait Gallery after the exhbition at the Smithsonian in Feburary 2014.
'Portrait of America' through its hundreds of optical lenses, communicated directly with its audience, prompting questions and taking photos through the viewfinder of Glass. For those who opted in, the total experience is recorded though the built-in camera in Glass, and cameras imbedded in the artwork. Images in the artwork, along with voice, triggered videos and interactive experiences that were seen through the viewfinder of Glass. Guests had their portraits taken wearing Glass, and the see-you see-me outcomes were archived by the art and sent out via social media to share with the world. The artwork evolved with each interaction, creating a timeline to share with future generations comparing points of view. Visitors were be able to go to datuna.com to see their digital collage of videos and portraits become a permanent part of the artworks traditional paint and paper collage.
Tens if thousands got a chance to experience Viewpoint of Billions with 'Portrait of America.'
"Wearables are about to change just about every aspect of life in the near-term future and Glass is the flagship product. David Datuna has been exploring how the technologies of today will take art beyond where it has been. He is the ideal artist-pioneer to incorporate Glass into authentic, inspirational and perhaps controversial works of art," stated Shel Israel, Co-Author with Robert Scoble of The Age of Context.
SAMPLE VIDEO FROM VIEWPOINT OF BILLIONS SEE-YOU-SEE-ME OUTCOME: http://youtu.be/7s8cKbo3tlc
DAVID DATUNA, CHANGING THE WAY WE LOOK AT ART: