Help Create the Big Design 2012 Sculptures

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If you joined us at Big Design 2011, there is no way you could have missed the sculptures called My Favorite Machine.  These sculptures were the center-piece of the Big Design trade show.  People loved them.  They stood by them and posed.  Well. our resident Big Design artist, Roger Belveal, is back with his blow torch ready.

As our culture speeds headlong in this digital age, the slick aesthetic has reached toxic levels. This overdose of untouchable virtual brings with it a kind of sensory deficit. As much as we love the capabilities that the digital world brings, there is emerging with it a craving for the unabashedly earthy and rugged to soothe the senses.  Even as we celebrate the amazing community formed by these ubiquitous technologies on a purely human level, that same human sense of self strives to bring it all out from behind the glass and into the world we know.

The Inspiration for 2012′s Artwork

My Favorite Machine is a celebration of the endearing nature of technology and design. In its presentation is a dichotomy; it both esteemed and irreverently parodied the machines that are in our lives, past and present. Its sequel,MyPhoneHenge, promises to do the same on an even grander scale. MyPhoneHenge reaches even further into the past and across mediums and motifs, challenging the senses and stretching definitions of what constitutes Art about Technology. It celebrates community and the multiplicity of people and things converging into one time and space, simultaneously virtual and physical.

Seven foot tall smart phones made of unlikely materials, filled with interactive media displays, shakes the tree of visual contrasts. Like the previous art, the bold visual parody grabs audience attention while the combination of polish and necessary roughness intrigues the senses and rich conceptual irony engages the intellect. Whimsy and tongue in cheek humor is throughout, along with the plain and serious (every comedian needs a straight man). It’s deliberately rough and duplicitous. That to me makes it interesting and fun.

Some Rough Details about This Project

MyPhonehenge, as the name implies is a circle of monoliths, each a smartphone abstracted into an individual statement about technology, design, history, and the interaction of people to machines and people to people. Like its names sake, it is a dichotomy of mystery and blunt straightforwardness.

The materials and style begin with my own sculptural motif of negative and positive spaces rendered in ordinary steel and concrete. This is expanded to include electronics and various types of media integrated without concession to fashion etiquette. Use of industrial materials in their native form pushes this bold statement even further and connects the dots in time with elements of prehistoric, industrial, and digital ages. Transitions make no apology and rules are created and then broken as readily as in a jazz melody.

The shape defines not just a form, but a space. The audience can inhabit the space around and between the monoliths, and this is as much a part of the piece as the substance and media. The audience interacting in this space, freely touching objects and actually driving the media, is part of the art.

The BIG(D)ESIGN Conference has been an awesome cheerleader and a wonderful host providing me with the perfect venue to share these tech art concepts. My Favorite machine was a huge hit and I was invited back to do the sequel. Help me give them another art center piece to knock their socks off. Help me make this art which I believe speaks volumes about technology’s impact on contemporary culture.

Help Support This Project

For those that see the beauty and fun in these contrasts, we invite you to help me bring this vision into being.  Roger has already started this project.  You can financially donate money with the MyPhoneHenge Kickstarter page.  I have already sent in my $50!

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Contributed by Brian Keith Sullivan (307 Posts)

Brian Sullivan is the Usability Principal at Sabre. He is President of DFW-UPA. Brian is one of the creators of Big Design Events, Big Design Magazine, Big Design Dallas and Chicago. Brian is actively involved in World Usability Day. You can read his UX writings at The Usability Corner. Brian has an MA, MBA, and CUA.


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