SIME MIA is a digital business conference supported by Knight Foundation. Below, Pabla Ayala, co-founder of pFunk Media and PR manager of SIME MIA, interviews artist David Datuna premiering the first Glass interactive Viewpoint of Billions series at the New World Center in Miami Beach on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd.
By Pabla Ayala
Q: Your art has been described as, “a melting pot made visual,” re-imagining powerful national symbols and artifacts. How do you select the subjects of your pieces, like Steve Jobs, Ayn Rand, Mick Jagger, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin or The Mona Lisa?
David Datuna: I've always been fascinated by historical figures that contribute to the shaping of national identity, and how they become symbols--whether positive or negative--that continue for generations to impact our world.
Q. Your piece, Steve Jobs/Ayn Rand (2011) for your Viewpoint of Millions series, used optical lenses superimposed over a collage of countless recurring shaded miniature portraits of portraits of Ayn Rand to create a large portrait of Steve Jobs. What led to the use of lenses in your work and what is intention behind their use?
Datuna: I really enjoyed working on the Steve Jobs/Ayn Rand project. Steve Jobs was a true visionary, and was a major force in changing the way we see and use technology. His eye for aesthetics influenced art and fashion on many levels. The lenses symbolically express individual identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation and unification. I've worked with optics in my art for several years as my medium, both in Viewpoint of Millions and now Viewpoint of Billions. The network of positive and negative lenses express the multiple points of view we all share from within.
Q. How will Google Glass change the way the audience experiences your work in your Viewpoint of Billions, previewing December 3rd at SIME MIA prior to its debut in the Miami Design District?
Datuna: The 12 foot American flag I created for this project (shown below) is a traditional work. It's designed in a way that an audience wearing Glass, and an audience without can both have unique experiences. For those wearing Glass, it will act as an extension of my original concept. Glass will unlock a narrative beneath the lenses through video and a variety of immersive experiences. The audience will be able to interact with and respond to the work in a totally different way. The flag will also communicate directly with its audience prompting questions through the viewfinder of Glass. If you opt in, the total experience is recorded though the built-in camera in Glass, and cameras in the artwork. The see-you see-me outcome is archived and sent out via social media to share with the world. You could almost say it has a mind of its own. As it evolves with each interaction, the work will grow far beyond my original concept. Ten flags for various countries will be created in the initial Viewpoints of Billions series, and each will be networked. For an artist to be able to communicate with the viewer in this way, is a dream. My hope is that one day the viewpoint of million will be shared, liked or otherwise, and reach the viewpoint of billion.
I'm very excited the first people in the world to see the first Glass activated contemporary art in the world, will be at SIME MIA. It's a creative and inspirational event, with an amazing group of individuals involved from every part of the technology and art communities, all assembled during an incredible time in Miami--it's a perfect combination. The team at KIWI Arts Group, with the support of Gallery Shchukin have curated an unbelievable program. The public launch will be in Miami's Design District from December 4-8. There will multiple Glass devices on location for the public to try first-hand, so we invite everyone to visit us and become part of the experience. If you go to datuna.com you can register for updates on how to participate.
Q. What role has technology played in your personal, as well as professional life?
Datuna: Like most people technology plays some part in almost every area of our day-to-day, on a personal and professional level. Not so many years ago it played a different role, and is evolving faster than ever. We can look back 20 years ago and remember a time without much involvement with devices in our daily lives. I can only imagine 20 years from now.
It's an exciting time for an artist in the culturally diverse and innovative world we share today.
Q. Will technology continue to influence your work (if so, how)?
Datuna: It's hard to imagine that technology will not continue to influence my art, everyone and everything. We cannot avoid it, I don't think we should be worried or afraid of it, I think we should embrace it and see how we can all utilize it to make the world better for all of us. Google is an example of a company that embraces this philosophy. They are really trying to make a difference in everything from alternative energy, to assisting in building a truly global internet, to creating devices like Glass that will open the creative minds of artists, inventors, educators, doctors, youth and so much more. I hope to continue to be inspired by technology and create art with a deeper message that I can communicate beyond the surface, one that in some small or hopefully large way will have some meaningful impact.
Q. In your opinion, what is it about Miami that has made Art Basel Miami Beach one of the most heralded art exhibitions in the world?
Datuna: Art Basel Miami Beach has been very successful in attracting an exciting overall program that includes a top roster of galleries, artists, collectors and art professionals from around the world. Miami, as a place, becomes magical for one week in December, and everyone knows they will have the rare opportunity to see, buy and enjoy the some of the most creative and inspirational work--both modern and contemporary--from all corners of the globe. The energy is totally unbelievable, and Miamian's know how to welcome the world, opening up their homes, collections, and hosting some the best parties on the planet…there's no other place like it.
David Datuna for Glass, 'Viewpoint of Billions'
December 3, SIME MIA, New World Symphony, Private Event.
December 4-8, 11am - 11pm, Miami Design District, 97 NE 40th Street, Open to the Public
For updates and how to participate: datuna.com
Produced by KIWI Arts Group with the support of Gallery Shchukin