It should come as no surprise that the marriage of art and technology has had some difficulty finding a place in the institutional white cube exhibition spaces of most contemporary galleries and museums—after all, many practitioners reject the traditional art-object format on principle. Indeed, the incorporation of technology in art has vastly expanded the realm of creative possibilities, both aesthetically and with respect to distribution—auction house Phillips recently held the second edition of its forward-looking "Paddles On!" digital art auction—yet the modes by which it is bought, sold or displayed continue to shift and evolve.
The EO1 serves only as an object for passive engagement, i.e. it's not a computer per se: The screen has no keyboard, mouse, speakers or docs to confuse its sole use as an art viewing device. These limitations of interaction may well be its greatest strength. These constraints represent Electric Object's commitment to freeing the 'trapped' art of the Internet from our smartphones, laptops and other 'devices designed or distraction,' such that the EO1 is a proverbial blank canvas for creativity. By clearly delineating the boundaries of functionality for the EO1, Electric Objects has managed to come up with a domestic screen-based object that is passive enough to not make us feel like we live in the Corning "A Day Made of Glass" concept video.
Electric Objects founder Jack Levine has recruited Zoë Salditch, formerly of Rhizome and Eyebeam, as Director of Artist Relations, to further establish to the EO1 as the premier platform for digital art by commissioning original works from notable artists through their Artist-in-Residency Program. Additionally, Electric Objects has a handful of partners including New York Public Library, Digg and Museum of Moving Images, whose partial collections will be available for the EO1. Currently, a number of works are available (most appropriately) through the Electric Objects Tumblr. Since the platform can technically access any work with a URL, it is entirely feasible that you could display anything on the Internet. Neverthless, besides registered collection and commissioned works through Electric Objects, we look forward to seeing how the team manages a viable monetization model for purchase or sale of preexisting digital works.
The EO1 looks promising in its fledgling stages, attracting over 400K in funding in its first week. The Kickstarter campaign still has a little over three weeks to go and can be seen here or on the Electric Objects website.