I’ve been dreaming about domotics since the Jetsons invaded my TV every afternoon… with those intelligent washbasins, 4D TVs and Roseys… and look at us.. we can pretty much buy all of those technologies nowadays (or in the very near future), this is why it’s always interesting to have a look into the future with an arty approach. “The Automation”, exhibition about domotics @ Parisian Xpo Gallery, proposes cheap, surreal and sometimes already expired smart home solutions for those who don’t mind artists or technologists (and not engineers) designing their future.
Today more and more people are now using Roombas, or internet-connected fridges and their presence is only going to increase with thrillions of billions of smart objects being connected in the coming years. Vincent Broquaire knows it and he created an IKEA-like catalogue of what the future might hold on for us. His « catalogue de domotique » (home automation catalogue) comprises a large selection of items for every room of the house, from the kitchen to the bedroom or bathroom. His simple drawings depict a life any tech-savvy person would dream of. A pan that sends you an SMS if its content comes to boil or a toothbrush connected to your dentist’s webcam. The funniest part is that some of the connected objects he imagined already exist, at least as concepts. The tablet cutting board, a tablet with a hard glass touch screen you can cut your veggies on, has been prototyped by a Korean designer and the HD fireplace has existed for quite a while now (with some great 8-bit variations).
The most interesting drawings are the ones that mix a heavy dose of fantasy with technology. Why not having a video of penguins in the freezer or ride a bike to navigate in Google Street View. Broquaire’s future is pretty exciting but there is still a dark side to it. The privacy no longer exists, and we are so absorbed in our digital life (a 560” screen anyone?) that we forget to actually go outside and enjoy the world as it is. His iPad apps made with Ingi Brown and Charles Beauté under the name Le LaBBB are the perfect expression of this idea. Thanks to iBaguette, the bread comes directly through your iPad. What would you like today? A fresh baguette or a croissant, just click on the icon and after a 5 seconds baking process, here you go. Your pimping hot baked goods appear on the screen. You might not be able to eat it, but the crusty sound it makes will probably be enough to satisfy your hunger. Even the food will be digital in the future.
Along with Vincent Broquaire’s drawings and le LaBBB’s apps, the exhibition also features the work of Vincent Godeau. As Broquaire, his pieces are all about technology but never make use of the traditional devices found in digital art. His sculpture moteur de recherche finally gives some kind of utility to QR codes. This oversized QR code is actually a puzzle made of mobile blocks of wood. A change in the pattern will create a new code that will redirect to a random link online. Whether it’s a random way to search the Internet or crazy devices that will simplify our lives, Automation brings some poetry to the cold world of technology.