Is digital signage the next emerging artistic medium?

 
April 24, 2014 | by Jeff Hastings

One of the upsides of frequent business travel is that I get to visit some amazing cities. While my work schedule keeps me very busy on the road, from time to time I have the opportunity to duck into museums in some of those cities.

Digital signage in museums is nothing new — most now have monitors displaying information about entrance fees, current exhibits, concessions, among other things. But an emerging trend I find fascinating is that digital signage is quickly gaining acceptance as a new artistic medium. No doubt portraits and photography still reign supreme, but in many cases a growing number of contemporary artists are embracing digital as a legitimate art form.

Just a couple months ago Robert Wilson concluded a special exhibition at the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France. His video installation, "Living Rooms," featured pop sensation Lady Gaga in the re-creation of several renowned paintings housed at the Louvre. The striking installation is the perfect juxtaposition of modern artistic technique and classic artistic works, resulting in a provocative interpretation that blurs the lines between traditional art and modern pop culture.

Additionally, late last year Michael Nyman exhibited his work at the Summerhall Arts Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. As one of Britain's most celebrated and innovative composers and film-makers, Nyman wanted to take his extensive familiarity with Dziga Vertov's silent 1929 masterpiece, "Man With a Movie Camera" (itself an experimental film with no story and no actors), and "re-imagine" it by replaying it on eleven screens — with each version subtly different. Nyman's 10 film interpretations share identical frames that are synchronized to the original film, and additionally all of the films share a common soundtrack written by the artist and composer.

Art is constantly evolving as artists seek out new ways to express their vision, and it's clear that digital signage is becoming a new tool of the trade. In addition, the recent onset of 4K is accelerating the acceptance of digital content within the art world. Dramatically improved video quality is winning over even the most discerning critics, accelerating the move to digital display as the canvas of tomorrow.

While on the surface this might seem like an unlikely combination, my belief is that digital signage is perfectly suited for the art world. Not only does it enable the artist to re-create his or her vision with exacting precision, but digital signage introduces motion to art forms that have traditionally existed as static images. For progressive-minded artists this is an alluring option, so it's no surprise that artists are embracing digital signage in their work. Personally, I can't wait to see how this digital renaissance plays out in the years ahead.


Topics: Display Technology , Museums , Trends / Statistics


Jeff Hastings / BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings joined BrightSign in August 2009 while it was still a division of Roku Inc. In late 2010 with digital signage activities growing so rapidly, BrightSign became a separate firm. The holder of eight U.S. patents, he also has a history of tech industry leadership, including as president of mp3 pioneer Rio.
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