The idea for Infinite Objects is simple: to make video art more collectable and accessible. Born from a collaboration between product development studio Planeta and GIF search engine Giphy, the members of both teams were exploring how GIFs and video art could be enjoyed outside of phones—and indeed outside of galleries. The company just released its first collection of artworks, including pieces by Sebastian Schmieg, Sara Ludy, Allison Bagg and others, with some pieces playing on a loop of a few seconds and others lasting some 15+ minutes. We spoke with founder Joe Saavedra (formerly of Planeta) about the release.
Can you explain a little about how the company formed? Was there a specific catalyst that started it all?
The genesis of IO came from work between a product development studio (Planeta) working with Giphy on experimental R&D projects around creating and experiencing moving images. We built a series of prototypes that led us to the realization that single-purpose, immutable devices for video can completely transform how we value, buy, and sell digital content. In 2018 we concluded the work with Giphy and together decided to start a new venture to develop consumer products with this mission.
This project brings digital/video art into homes and offices and private spaces, and surely in front of more people. Was part of company’s goal to make this type of art more accessible?
Accessibility is a core aspect of our mission. For moving image artworks, the idea of permanently marrying a digital piece to a physical object inherently changes how collectors can own and display a video art piece. However we see a ton of potential across all types of video—whether it be entertainment, popular culture, sports, video games, and of course user generated, personal content. In terms of accessibility, our current price point reflects the value of the content. Our long-term mission is to make video collectible across those content categories and making it as cost-friendly as possible.
Can you please tell us a little about the first artworks and artists to be part of Infinite Objects—how they were selected?
We collaborated with Rhizome, Transfer Gallery, and Daata Editions to help curate our inaugural collection of artworks. We were excited to work with artists at the forefront of video, and in particular to help define what “always on” video on Infinite Objects can look and feel like.
Rather than looking like a regular screen or a device, the pieces are sophisticated works of art. Can you tell us a little about the process and thinking behind landing on this acrylic design?
Our product is explicitly not a gadget—it features no buttons, switches, or connectivity, and certainly does not require use of an app. The primary goal with this design was to make a display not feel like a tablet; the last thing we want is someone to feel that they can tap or swipe our display. Our goal is to present moving images in their purest form. In many ways our product is like “paper” on which we “print” video—and the acrylic design was where we landed in trying to achieve this. That being said, we are working on a variety of form factors and materials, to make our physical form as flexible as the content it can hold.
Can you tell us about what’s planned for the future—perhaps plans to work with different artists, shows and more?
The future is extremely exciting. We are continuing with art commissions and exploring what perpetually present video can mean, how it can look and feel, and how collectors live with video in this format. Editioned moving image artworks are just the beginning in terms of our audience. We are working with a diverse group of content creators, publishers, marketers, and partners to explore how this approach to selling, owning, and valuing video can be a game changer across audiences. In 2020, we’ll also become the first “printers” of Live Photos and video for the general public. Before you know it, you’ll be sending your mom a moving moment for her birthday or your partner a video valentine.
Images courtesy of Infinite Objects