culture: April 2004 Archives

Nomadic advertising

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When I first saw a picture of people wearing ads displayed on LCDs over their heads, I thought they looked ridiculous. This was partially based on my preference that wearable computing not turn into a vehicle for ubiquitous walking ads. A lot of it had to do with the rest of their outfits, which included large white shoulder harnesses, silver helmets, large orange sunglasses, sleeveless orange jumpsuits and matching wristbands.

But there's another version of this type of "nomadic advertising" that I think is interesting.

The PIXMAN system consists of an LCD suspended over the wearer's head by a pole that's attached to a backpack. This attachment style makes a big difference. There's something extremely goofy-looking about a monitor attached directly to a helmet. But the PIXMAN's LCD-on-a-pole seems more like an alien appendage, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Now I do have to say that the systems look pretty heavy. But they weren't designed to be worn by just anyone. The wearers are professional performers. And the dark urban costumes, whose inspiration seems to be a blend of Magritte, the Matrix and some sort of snowboarder militia, offer an overall look that just oozes cool. A mob of these folks coming down the street must be pretty effective.

So I guess I'm saying that if there's going to be wearable advertising, I'll take mine as performance art.

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This page is a archive of entries in the culture category from April 2004.

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