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By David Padwa
Google Glass was released to developers in February 2013, and will be available to all consumers in 2014. There is a lot of excitement surrounding Glass because it is the new, shiny, and exciting gadget, akin to the release of the iPad three years ago. Glass captures images and video, delivers integrated email and directions and performs simple Google searches, all through voice commands.
GLASS AND ART
Google already released Glass to 8,000 consumers through a contest where each contestant had to say what they would use Glass for. The winners paid $1,500 for the first generation of the product. Brooklyn-based curator Samantha Katz is putting her own spin on the technology:
To my knowledge there are no art-related projects. A lot of people who have the device are using it for educational purposes or for exploration, but this is the first arts and culture project.
Katz shot a month-long web series, Gallery Glass, and conducted 30 interviews and studio visits with a variety of New York artists during this past September. While the content is interesting, couldn’t Katz have used a traditional recording device, or even her cell phone?
Glass provided a helpful medium for capturing video, but here, does not enhance the viewing or discussion of art:
We have written about art and fashion before. Here is Diane von Furstenberg’s project using Google Glass:
This makes it easy to image people wanting one, but there is not a demonstrable feature of Glass portrayed that enhances the (art) experience.
WHAT CAN’T GLASS DO?
Jay Yarow of Business Insider points out some of Glass’ downsides:
It’s disorienting, and gives you a headache. Our own Alyson Shontell said of Glass, ‘It’s disorienting. You’re unable to focus on people or things around you … Glass is headache-inducing too; you’re more or less cross-eyed when focusing on something so close to your face.’
This can be frustrating when the point of Glass in terms of art is to enhance the viewing experience; impossible when the device is simply uncomfortable.
Yarow goes on:
You still need a smartphone to use Glass outdoors. Google Glass doesn’t have a built-in cellular data connection. So, you have to have to pair it with a smartphone that has a data connection when you leave your home. This will add to your data plan costs and drain your smartphone’s battery.
Imagine you are at a gallery and you want to send a friend a picture of what you are looking at. Wouldn’t using your cell phone be as efficient as Glass?
Will Google Glass revolutionize the tech industry? Maybe.
Will Google Glass revolutionize the art industry? Probably not.