Articles

After Blockbuster Kickstarter, Electric Objects Is Appealing to Artists

by Hrag Vartanian on July 17, 2014

Artist Erica Gorochow working on a project for EO1 (photo by Justin Ouellette, courtesy Electric Object)

Artist Erica Gorochow working on a project for EO1 (photo by Justin Ouellette, courtesy Electric Objects)

It’s long been a dream of digital art lovers to easily display internet-based art, so it was no surprise that Electric Objects, a company developing a dedicated high-definition screen and integrated computer to bring art from the internet into the home, quickly blew past its initial Kickstarter goal of $25,000 to raise almost half a million dollars with 20 days still left on their project.

Now the startup is reaching out to artists for its “Artist in Residence / Beta” program, which invites artists and developers to create work with the new device in mind.

A work by Hateplow on an Electric Objects prototype. (image courtesy EO)

A work by Hateplow on an Electric Objects prototype (image courtesy EO)

“EO1 is a nice piece of hardware, but it’s not much more than that without a community of artists and developers who see it as an exciting platform and context for new work,” says Electric Objects’ Director of Artist Relations Zoë Salditch. “Our goal is to support the creation of a wide range of works, from animated GIFs to software-based visualizations, and our hope is that through this open call, artists and developers will help shape the contours of the platform. We want them to help us explore it, to bump up against its constraints, to push the platform in directions we haven’t yet considered.”

The company is still determining the pricing structure for artworks, but it’s considering the same 70/30 split that developers on the Apple and Google app stores enjoy.

“In our early conversations, artists have been really receptive to that model,” Salditch told Hyperallergic. “Particularly since we’re not interested in exclusivity or limited editions.”

Electric Objects is also considering a subscription model, which it plans on testing in the next few months. “Imagine handing over control of your EO1 to an artist who effectively curates a show on your wall,” Salditch says.

The New York–based company isn’t the first to bring art to home screens: the London-based Sedition has long been offering work by well-known and emerging artists to collectors around the world. With prices running as low as $8 and as high as $1,600 for limited-edition works, Sedition’s model features proprietary software that allows collectors to show their work on any screen they own. Unlike Sedition, Electric Objects appears to be focusing on web-native artists.

With the new beta residency, Electric Objects hopes to encourage people to explore the limits of its new digital art device. Participating artists will received a EO Prototype Kit, a $500 stipend, rights to their work, and one-on-one consultations with Jacob Bijani, who leads the Electric Objects development team.

“Our advisor Kevin Slavin had this amazing comment about the product, and about new platforms generally: ‘Anybody who has ever made a closed system has found themselves surprised by artists. And anybody who’s ever made an open system has found themselves pleasantly surprised by artists.’ We’d rather be in the latter category,” says Saldtich.

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