I’m writing this article right after I published “My Thoughts on Art Prize 2023,” because while writing it, I started to imagine cool art/technology projects. If I didn’t have to worry about popularity contests, funding, or technological constraints, here’s some projects from imaginationland I would submit to thought-poke and delight the public:
1. Mirror, Mirror
This installation would consist of a huge gallery room with 100 mirrors lined up on the wall. Each mirror would actually be a screen with a hidden camera. The camera sees the viewer, then runs the data through some machine-learning thing and displays a “reflection” of the viewer at every age. The first mirror would show them as a 1-year-old infant, the tenth mirror would show them as a 10-year-old child, and so on. A viewer could run alongside the mirrors and glimpse themselves zooming through their own life or stand at certain “ages” to reflect.
2. Dream Room
Once the technology’s there, it would be cool to wear a ring to bed that records your dreams. It would be all protected, encrypted health data and such—that feels like a very private thing. The user then takes the ring to the installation and steps into a private room. Maybe there will be a few rooms. Pods. These rooms are dark and circular with a comfy-looking lounge chair in the center. The user puts their ring on a mantle and the machine reads it. Then, the user lays back in the chair and watches their dreams from the previous night play out on the ceiling. Maybe they’ll even have the option to toggle a helpful AI text overlay that tries to interpret the dream as it’s happening. After it’s done, the user can consent or refuse to share their dream up on the Big Dream Screen, which plays it mixed in with other people’s dreams in downtown Grand Rapids. My hypothesis is that we all have similar dreams regardless of race, national origin, background, or sociological status, and the Big Dream Screen will show that we’re more alike than different.
3. Thoughts All Over the Walls: The Infinite You
A big gallery room with blank canvases on the walls. The canvases are actually screens. Maybe the user has a biowearable like a wristband that can read their mood from signals in their skin. When the user enters the room, colors and abstract shapes that correspond to the user’s mood and thoughts start swimming across the screens. As the user’s thoughts flow and change, the walls reflect that. I’m curious: What would happen if a neurodivergent person interacted with this? What about a newborn baby? A pet? A person in a coma? A genius? A person brainwashed and trapped in a cult? How would the shapes and colors differ? Would there be a difference? It would be a cool art project for sure.