In a world that is increasingly shaped by pixels, the physical form of many everyday objects seems only to become more and more appealing. Take the book. While e-editions provide digital enhancements and a certain type of convenience, the texture of ink on paper is still (in the eyes of most people) the best medium for reading.
It is a similar story in terms of visual art. You’d hardly expect to walk into a gallery and have to inspect the brushstrokes of Cézanne or Whistler on a LCD screen. But perhaps that expectation will change if FRM gets its way. This Japanese company is currently raising money on Kickstarter to build FRAMED 2.0 — a canvas for the digital, connected age.
The unit offers high-definition art viewing with a very high contrast ratio, and IPS tech for a 180º viewing angle. It’s only 0.7 inches deep, with a hand-crafted walnut bezel, and it comes in 24” and 40” models. A beautiful wall-mounted screen, no doubt, but not exactly revolutionary. However, the main attraction here is the way FRAMED interacts with the world around it. Being equipped with Wi-Fi enables the display to pull in artworks directly from the FRAMED online marketplace (think Etsy for pixel-delivered art), including images, illustrations, GIFs, animation, video, and plenty more besides.
But the interactivity doesn’t stop at data transfer. Hand gestures are the primary control method, thanks to FRAMED’s motion sensors, and there is both audio input and output for a two-way sound experience. Downloading the accompanying smartphone app provides further stimulus, turning your phone into a touchscreen control for playing with the on-screen piece.
There have been numerous attempts to make this kind of thing work over the years, and I wonder whether it will take an advance in screen technology for digital wall art to really catch on. But it is undoubtedly the case that FRAMED is the best attempt yet — and you might just see it in a gallery near you soon.