The Growth of Digital Art in Experiential Marketing

The rise of digital art in experiential marketing

Technology has the art world buzzing as artists add a universe of engaging experimental options to their palette. Digital tools foster deeper immersion into the art experience, as in the interactive A.I. Salvador Dalí at St. Petersburg’s Dalí Museum who helps visitors understand and interact with still pieces throughout the exhibit. In corporate offices and lobbies once dominated by large still art installations, floor-to-ceiling LEDs can add motion, interact with the architecture, and change the room ambiance to suit the occasion. As new digital experiences continue to prove their ability to generate wonder and engagement in art audiences around the world, we explore how to apply digital art in experiential marketing from trade shows to permanent environments.

The Psychology

In the most basic sense, art gives value and sense to concepts. In the “Depth Psychology of Art,” author Shaun McNiff determined art is not only the manifestation of the psyche, but also “a deep and psychologically intelligent process that occurs with spontaneity and surprisingly transformative outcomes.” With the advent of digital art, viewers can interact with art on a never-before-seen level, altering their experiences with art, and intensifying it, bringing forth a deeper engagement with consumers, whether they’re in a museum, retail store, or even the trade show floor.

Take “Megaliths in a Bath House Ruins,” a recent digital art installation located in Kyushu, Japan. Intended to explore the relationship between humans and nature, viewers walk along computer-rendered monoliths working in real time. Cascading waterfalls interact with the viewer, while flowers grow and decay at different speeds. The experience is both enchanting and transformative.

The Implications

If art encourages interaction, what happens when digital art interacts with itself? A.I. art shows are on the rise, some featuring collaborative works from artist and machine. Gallerist Aparajita Jain recently put together one of the first mainstream collections of AI-created work in New Delhi. As she told Artnet, “A.I. [is] becoming a new tool for artists — one with its own creative component, similar to a creative collaborator.” Jain goes on to compare A.I.’s rise in digital art to the advent of photography and video, the natural next stop in the evolution of art.

A recent study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology portrayed exclusively A.I.-generated art next to the work of mere humans. The A.I. art was deemed more “novel, complex, and inspiring” and preferred over the other pieces. It seems our robot overlords may someday include a Picasso among them.

The Applications

Rather than picturing Linda Hamilton or Arnold Schwarzenegger bursting through a gallery, guns blazing, let’s consider a more hopeful vision of the future where the evolution of technology and art breeds harmony. It turns out experiential art may be the great equalizer. A recent study out of the University of Edinburgh explains that “art can mediate between computer code and human comprehension to overcome the limitations of explanations in and for A.I. systems.” Experiences can act as the bridge between AI and human, allowing the latter to understand this technology as never before.

Northeastern University recently launched an A.I. experiential program, dedicated to exploring how humans and A.I. can work together for a common future. At least one company is putting this technology in the common man’s hands, using an algorithm “inspired by the human brain” to offer up a web service to process your own photos into master-inspired art work.

In fact, digital art can be integrated with experiential design to promote a greater harmony between human and machine. If people are using experiential to explain dense, abstract concepts like A.I., think of how digital art can enhance your company’s message.

You can use 3-D artwork on a “magic wall” to visualize a city landscape, complete with simulated air flow with ribbons of light—as we did with our collaboration with Trane at AHR. You can offer a soothing waterfall over a 20-foot-by-20-foot space, as we did for Automation Anywhere for SSOW 2018. The applications are endless, immense, and thrilling to behold. Via digital art, you can interact with your customers with a greater comprehension of messaging and more in-depth experience for both customer and client. Our robot overlords are looking more and more likely to be our fruitful robot collaborators instead.

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