Billed as "the worldʼs biggest cultural commissioning program", the Beck's Green Box Project is a three-year, international initiative designed to explore the potential of augmented reality as a platform for stimulating and disseminating contemporary art.
To kick the project off, Beck's located 30 of the titular green boxes (augmented reality enabled sculptures designed by artist Jason Bruges) in cities around the world, then invited 30 artists covering a whole spectrum of disciplines to create film-based artworks to be curated within each box. The result? Nothing less than the world's first augmented reality gallery, the contents of which can be viewed by downloading the Beckʼs Augmented Reality app.
If the technology sounds mind-boggling, the aim is simple: to encourage hundreds of artists to commission their own 'green box' which, over the next three years, will be judged by a pair of illustrious Keyholders: Grammy award-winning producer Sam Spiegel and photographer Nick Knight.
When Because heard that New York-based jewellery designer and artist Bijules (aka Jules Kim) was one of the select group of creatives chosen to inaugurate the project, we tracked her down poste haste in order to learn more about Connau - Kim's gorgeously golden contribution to the project.
Because: What appealed to you about the Green Box Project?
Bijules: I've never created an augmented reality concept before! Being an artist and working in diverse product offerings is great fun. Also, new and different constraints exercise my design capabilities. The Bijules brand identity is based on fuelling culture in ways that a "normal" jewellery brand would never try to achieve. I've made fashion films, created exclusive editorials, collaborated with established brands and artists, and now, forged an augmented reality experience.
Because: What were the challenges and rewards of working on the Green Box Project?
Bijules: In order to be the best one can be, one must always stretch one's own limits and take risks. This project enabled me to do that. I was initially worried that since I'd never created an animation it would be a feat, but I partnered with a great team.
Because: What was the genesis of your idea and what do you hope to convey or evoke through your work?
Bijules: My "Connau" concept was birthed from always mixing irony with beauty. Based on the location of the green box itself, Highland and Hollywood (home of the Walk of Fame and the Academy Awards Theater) I was tempted to breathe a golden juxtaposition from New York to Los Angeles. Gold equals riches but it's a statement for me to make fun of instant celebrity. I consider myself a modern alchemist. In theory, everything I touch turns to gold in concept or material!
Because: Can you elaborate a bit on the story and imagery?
Bijules: The word "connau" is a bilingual word play on "connu" which means "known for" and "Au" is the periodic symbol for gold. I want to be known for making beauty in gold. I also wanted this project to represent discovery of the unknown. The visuals show me exhaling and inhaling a black smoke into an otherwise non-living thing; a balloon. It's a story about breathing life into a concept and making it live on its own.
Because: Tell us a bit more about that jewellery you showcase in the film.
Bijules: I'm a jewellery designer and have been creating original concepts for eight years now. I'm responsible for the iconic fashion jewellery shapes known as the "bar ring" and the "nail ring" which I alter and vary each season to constantly fuel the merging of the fashion world with the art and luxury jewellery industries!
Because: You say in your introduction to the piece that you are 'redefining fashion standards'. What do you mean by that?
Bijules: Standards are defined by genre, form, and general acceptance. My work seeks to redefine these accepted notions which have stood through time. In my world, the ring is not meant for just one finger, but seen to cross an entire finger, climb the knuckle, hug a nail bed, and scrape a hand. In order to create culture one must be responsible for the world one creates and really own it. I'm known for creating bizarre and outlandish shapes in jewellery. That's why those who look for concepts outside of the mainstream seek my viewpoint.
Because: We're seeing a growing number of directional jewellery brands using augmented reality to promote and showcase their work - Boucheron, Garrard and Hannah Martin to name a few. What do you feel this kind of technology brings to an experience that has, until now, been very much about physical interaction with, and the emotional appeal of, the end product?
Bijules: Jewellery, once again, has existed in a one-dimensional world for a very long time and it is not until recently that brands such as those you mention have been able to exceed these dimensions.
Technology represents an opportunity for us expand our clients' viewpoints and emotional experiences which, in turn, will enhance their buying capabilities. Once the client is attracted, it's up to us to sustain their interest by constantly creating new experiences for them. Their emotional attachment goes further than the actual product which serves as a communication tool and as proof that the client lived through the discovery before they bought into it.
It's crucial to them to be noticed for such a risk in their style; it's like a wink of approval from the select public who can identify those choices and risks.
Watch the films here: