Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?

After a hard day of leveraged buyouts, a tired industrialist could come home and view something less taxing than cubism. Perhaps a sunset in Maui, displayed in dazzling colors on a high-definition screen. It’s not just pretty pictures that Gates and ultimately others will watch. Movies will seem real. Cookbooks, encyclopedias and history “books” will come alive, allowing a person to browse through sound, image and text, no longer restricted by the amount or sequence determined by editors.
(Seattle Times, 26 May 1991)

We sort of like the idea of this: EO1, a ‘computer made for art’ (via kottke), although it’s hard to see why a plain old tablet (or TV) wouldn’t be better. Harks back to the days of Bill Gates’ legendary house, with its 50,000 paintings on call, an awe-inspiring concept back in 1991 and one that required Gates to buy up digital rights and picture libraries of great swathes of imagery. The end result wasn’t an art wall in every home, but Corbis Images (tumblr), a giant but now rather traditional picture library. The idea of piping art into the home is frequently smothered by good intentions. There’s also Artkick – ‘Spotify for digital art‘ – fundamentally the same as the E01 except it uses your television, with a subscription model to get rid of ads and boost access to more ‘premium’ content (pitching us straight into judgement calls about which art is worth more when it’s all reduced to pixels). Ironically, the predicted spin-offs from Gates’ initial vision of high quality screens in the home have all come to pass; it’s the original idea that still hasn’t found traction. (above, Untitled 371, Ditty Ketting, 2012)

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