Article in Under the Hood category.
A Twisted Apple Store Comes to the Collective
Evan Yee's Art Gallery is up and running here at the Fueled Collective! Come view the exhibits and check out what all the buzz is…
Many don’t think it’s possible, much less practical, to fuse modern technology with an exotic blend of humor and creativity. That's why Fueled invited artist Evan Yee to install his renowned "The App Store" right here in the Fueled Collective. Yee converted one of our meeting rooms into a twisted, dystopian Apple Store like you've never seen before.
The Exhibit is open to the public, come stop by. The Fueled Collective is located on 568 Broadway, on the 11th floor of the Prince Street building.
Waiting is an unavoidable part of life. Computers are no exception in contributing to delay. They freeze our monitors and clog it with junk. One popular example is the Mac. In a stroke of brilliance, Yee took this simple color concept and from it forged two real life adaptations of Mac’s dreaded icon, which he coined the “Spinning Pinwheel of Death” to mock the Mac’s superiority. One hangs right above the receptionist’s head while the other is mounted on a table in the middle of the Fueled Collective’s waiting area. Yee explains that the mechanism behind his works of art are actually quite simple: there is one encompassing source of lighting behind the cover that gives the gives the flush of colors its life. Spinning blades continuously rotate in front of it like propellers in an engine, giving users the final impression that the icon is alive and running.
This showcase features a pillar in the shape of very narrow, elongated rectangular prism that stands like a starved edifice. It may appear very skinny, but its content is anything but starved or frail. The structure is segmented into numerous layers of dirt and other bare elements of nature, like an archeological dig site. In the middle of it all is an iPhone cased in plastic resin. Yee explained that all the layers of the art beneath the iPhone could be perceived as that which came before mobile and the layers above the iPhone as the future of cellular technology. When I asked Yee what the scope of history/magnitude of timeline the artwork encompassed, he replied that it’s up to the viewer’s imagination, that it can just as easily represent the millions of years before and after the iPhone as it can convey the days, weeks, or months surrounding its release. The iPhone is preserved in resin to symbolize the acuteness and delicacy of the present that we are immersed in.
A QR code by itself isn’t all that aesthetically pleasing, it’s the functionality that counts. But what if a QR code’s function was to show you something beautiful? This QR painting does just that. Simply prepare your mobile device for a QR scan, lock its camera onto the portrait, and poof! If you’ve followed procedures correctly, your mobile will automatically take you to the Google image search results for a work of art. Yee explained that instead of showcasing an actual drawing within frame borders, a Google image search would be much more liberating.
There are many methods through which art can combine archaic customs with present day routine and manual efforts with technological efficiency. A pigeon perched on top of a drone is a perfect example of both. Yee elaborated that centuries ago the means of communication between people were very limited and using pigeons as messengers was not uncommon. On the other hand, people now have access to drones, and not just for communication but rather for leisure. People used have to train a bird and tie a note with their message on it to give voice to thought. The original subject is composed of sticks and twine but later cast in solid bronze. Moreover, the drone features mechanized propellers that are always spinning so long as the structure has power. Yee said that he wanted to create a piece of art that brings past and present together, to see just exactly how far we have gotten and all the beautiful time that has passed in between.
Some people have a knack for certain logos. Apple might beckon you to take a bite. Taco Bell might get you chiming in. What Yee has done here is taken the entirety of the Skype logo and magnified it for viewers. Come over and take a look at the sea of light blue that can be interpreted as a vast stretch of beautiful ocean or a single “S” cloud puff in the open blue skies on a sunny day.
There was one point in time when the hourglass was the standard way of telling time. You can hold this item in the palm of your hands as if it were an actual iPhone. Yee goes on to say the iFlip is actually an accurate reflection of how mobile dependent human civilization has become. We accumulate hours upon hours on the phone, so much that we might be wasting our own lives away. However, instead of forging a representation of decay, Yee takes a subtler stance by crafting an hourglass inside of an iPhone as an active reminder for those holding it that precious time that is slipping away from them by the second. He also showed me that if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that the material inside the hourglass are chips of metal. That’s right. The “sand” that rests within the artwork is the resulting debris of a ground up iPhone itself. Ouch! That must’ve hurt the blender.
From ID cards to dollar bills, we make duplicates of everything. So why not iPhones? This item is a mimic of the phones we fumble for every day. When I asked Yee why he created such a model, he told me that we spend too much time on our phones and went on to imply that it was detrimental to our well-being. He goes on to say that if we only had a soap bar as a duplicate, we might be better off. He went to work on it, but didn’t make anything useful for showering. The artwork exhibits an iPhone frozen in its home screen. It’ll make you long for your iPhone immediately, and probably fumble for it in your pocket. Come over and see if you can toggle beyond the iSimilate home screen. Good luck ;)
Before now, you might think that phone cameras are just for taking pictures and recording. That’s all about to change. This artwork introduces an unconventional kaleidoscope that is especially fitted for the iPhone. Put it on your phone and access your camera function. You’ll see exactly what you see in the kaleidoscope as if it were pressed against your brows, now all on your phone. Yee describes it as "An App in Real Life"
The App App
Modern day mobile users are constantly barraged by the numerous apps on their phones and tablets and almost oppressed by the sheer multitude of apps available in general. Now it’s time to give your mind a rest from all the electronic bombardment. The “App App” is simply an “app template” or “blank app slate” in the color and form of a pinkish-red square block with rounded corners. Yee explained that this piece of art imitates the outline of an app as you would see on your phone, but is empty aside from its singular color scheme. He wants viewers to realize just how deeply we’re all immersed in app usage; meanwhile giving off the sensation of mobile liberty by not installing any particular app within its borders. Don’t just stare at it though. Come over and give it a nice pat. We don’t want you lifting it though. You might hurt yourself.
We’ve all heard of the Oculus Rift. Now it’s time to give Yee's Nocuous a try. With bumps and scraps protruding from this piece of eyewear, it would’ve been a safe guess that Yee used immense manual labor to carve it out of raw metal rather than running it through extensive polishing at a refinery. The truth? He assembled the Nocuous with cardboard and duct tape before casting the work in solid aluminum. But it’s really the function of this artwork rather than its aesthetics that gives the art its value. To unlock the glory of the Nocuous Rift, slide two iPhones vertically into the goggles, one for each eye slot. When they are in place, you can experience a virtual reality simulation as you would with any other purposed for it. Yee gave me a fascinating analogy that it’s essentially how 3D glasses work to change depth perception and create a sense of realism in movie theaters, going on into the specifics of how the eyes work with the mechanism. It might look like bruised aluminum and you might wear it similar to how you might wear a catcher’s mask, making it brutish at first glance, but I assure you that its true beauty can only be perceived when you try it on.
It’s that time again. Some call patience a virtue. Many others call waiting time wasted time. Well now you can visualize virtue or waste in a whole new medium. This piece of work features the traditional waiting display that so many computer users are familiar with when faced with unresolved dilemmas. Take a bunch of elongated capsules, space them out equally to form a circle, have white light cycle through each of them in clockwise fashion, seat them firmly in the center of a rounded square representational of an app outline, and then blow it all up so that the borders measure around 2 ½ feet to 3 feet on all sides. There you have it. Waiting in limbo will never feel the same after you check this out.
#NoFilters and #Filters
We all want to look cool, right? For some time now, glasses have been a standing trend in fashion. Many find excuses to wear shades and some blatantly wear glasses that don’t even have lenses in them. Depending on your specific outlook, Yee will make you look more presentable. Like the Fallen Clouds this gallery exhibit couples two similar works of art. The frames of both glasses are crafted from solid brass and give off a golden hue. #NoFilters utilizes this frame without lenses to supplement its artwork while you can choose from nine shades of lenses to clip onto the any of the #Filters brass frames. Are there more parallels between the two glasses at first glance? Or are the contrasts what make the duo stand out? Take more than a few peaks here with these special glasses on and decide for yourself.
Nowadays, whenever we hear the term “sync,” we usually think of connecting phones to computers, computers to TVs, or activating a certain device. Yee shakes that foundation with this artwork. weSync features a white tile inside a square white frame. On it is a blank etch of white where a “weSync” heading is followed by a few words of inspiration below it. This piece of art may be drenched in white, but by no means is it an issue of surrender. Rather, it encourages you to think. However, it’d be best to take an in-person look before you think about anything else.
How well do you think you’re faring in life? Think you’re light years ahead? Or unable to get out of life’s quicksand? From our knowledge we can only compare with family, friends, and coworkers/superiors before making the final judgement about ourselves. Yee's Timeline gives us a much broader perspective on just how well we’re doing in life. This well researched booklet dedicates a page to each year of the average person’s life in America, starting with 0 and concluding with 79, the standard life expectancy for folks in this country. In a small square page you can compare your money, relationship, time spent, health and wellness, consumption, and waste output status with that of the national average. This work of art is more than informative, it’s eye-opening. Don’t be compelled to read the entire thing though; just flip to the page with your age on it, and it’ll all play out by itself.
The Fallen Clouds and Chasing Eternity extracted the burden of waiting and mounted the taboo in large display. The #PinwheelOfDeath is a miniature, sticker remake of Mac’s icon of frustration. Pick up one of these here at the art gallery and put ‘em on your desk by your computer or under your coffee mug. They’re not small enough to lose between your fingers, but also not large enough to play a nice round of Frisbee with. Though we have a bunch of them, come get yours soon before they run out! Did we mention, they are free?
We all have our special dreams and aspirations. Yee envisioned a realm where technology could be dismantled, stripped to its bare elements, and be reconstructed with the tools and wisdom of art, irony, and humor. By visiting Yee' Art installation here at Fueled, you’ll get a glimpse into that realm. It might not be very mystical since it deals with mobile, but Yee's personal touch gives it a certain sophistication that only art and technology can give off together, instead of the latter alone. This is evident in every work of art in his gallery. You don’t have to believe me. Stop by and see for yourself.