[Zer01ne News] The past and future drawn by technology

2021.6.16

Gucci shoes for walking in the intangible world, masterpieces drawn by robots without emotion, photos that restore the past. Technology overshadows the word of ‘Impossible’.

1. SOMEWHRE SNKR

Do you think a type of shoes exist that you can wear in the other space, but you cannot wear in this space? Gucci, the Italian luxury brand answered ‘yes’ with the launch of ‘Gucci Virtual 25’ sneaker that can only be worn in virtual reality.

The sneaker designed by Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele in collaboration with AR fashion platform Wanna is clearly engraved with double G-logo both on the chunky blue sole and on a dial. Surprisingly, this product is actually being sold through Gucci and Wanna’s mobile application!

The Gucci Virtual 25 can literally only be worn in a digital environment. For example, It’s like a face filter in the camera application. This is how you put on sneakers, take a photo or video, and share it online. If you buy this product from the Gucci application, the in-game version is activated and you can try it on directly to the avatars of <VR Chat>, a virtual reality social network platform, and <Roblox>, an online game platform.

Previously, Gucci had partnered with <Roblox> and introduced virtual wearable products for avatars.
Also, Gucci rapidly expanded its presence in the world of virtual clothing by applying the brand’s numerous designs along with <The Sims 4>, <Pokémon Go>, and the Augmented Reality avatar service <Zepetto>. Of course, all the previous cases had physical products, but the Gucci Virtual 25 means a lot since it is the first AR sneaker that exists only in the digital world, not in the real world!

The movement of Gucci clearly shows a very good example that the combination of technology represented by Metaverse and NFT and certain fields has an impact on the fashion industry. In particular, the fact to keep an eye on is that luxury fashion brands are considering of NFT introduction.

Gucci Virtual 25 was released for social media promotion with a target of the MZ generation, but if it is sold in the form of NFT, it is expected to be trading at a high price with a combination of the specificity of luxury goods and the unique nature of the original product secured by blockchain technology. It’s like a luxury good on top of luxury goods!

However, there are views of skeptics about the fashion industry’s entry into the NFT market as the Bitcoin wallet installation and blockchain purchase manual for consumers are not completed. If NFT becomes another means of consumption, we need to wait and see how the top fashion brands along with Gucci will respond to it.

2. AI Artist, enters London’s Design Museum!

There are robots that complete their artworks just like humans with holding brushes and pencils with their hands. This is the story of ‘Ai-Da’, the first artificial intelligence robot artist born in 2019.

Ai-Da captures the object with the camera in her eyes and draws the picture according to the coordinates calculated by an algorithmic computing system. Normally, it is different from general robots that draw pictures from learning information injected by humans. It could be said that the level of creativity is different. It is enough to hold the second solo exhibition!

The first exhibition was held at University of Oxford Art Gallery in June 2020, and the theme of the exhibition was <Unsecured Future>. It raised a profit of $1 million (about 1.1 billion KRW) and attracted a lot of attention.

Ai-Da’s second exhibition began on May 18th at the Design Museum in London. Everyone was surprised because it was one of the world’s top five art museums selected by The Times. It is like AI art robot has made a foray into the so-called ‘major’ level exhibition. After the first exhibition, a robot that learned how to draw a reflection of itself in a mirror will present three works on the theme of self-portrait, AI fonts, etc.

The theme of this exhibition is <Self-Portrait of Ai-Da>. The work is based on the life of modern people’s selfie culture and data dependency. The remarkable level of consciousness is a very good example of how the robot’s function focused only on simple imitation has moved on to creative thinking.

What will be the limit of Ai-Da’s capability? How far will her art world expand? The controversy over the artistry of artificial intelligence robots still lingers, but at least the portrait of Ai-Da makes us think again about the definition of human identity and creativity in the digital age.

3. Portrait of real Vincent van Gogh

The face of Vincent van Gogh is not unfamiliar. Fortunately, he left lots of self-portraits. However, there is not a single self-portrait that is portrayed exactly like him because it is just a picture that reflects the artist’s subjectivity, not an objective photo. It is more accurate to say that the perfectly reproduced face of Vincent Van Gogh does not exist. In fact, there were cameras during Van Gogh’s life, but photos of him were never found. There had been presumed photos of him, but the auctioneers did not admit it.

Ruud van Empel, Dutch digital artist was longing for the perfect image of Van Gogh and finally portrayed Van Gogh’s real appearance of his adult life in a form of digital collage. Since the early 1990s, the artist has created photos that are similar to the real appearances by combining various photos with a computer. Van Gogh’s appearance in the photos he created was very sophisticated like Deepfake technology which uses artificial intelligence to synthesize specific parts of a person.
Red hair, beaked eyes, and a tall hooked nose reveal the artist’s sharp and delicate personality, and the deep wrinkles on his face express the traces of his agony. No! It would be more appropriate to say that it has been found.

Ruud van Empel held ‘Look-Alike Contest’ to find the appearances of Van Gogh. After taking photos of Van Gogh’s look-alikes from all over the world, he cut out parts of their faces, such as their skin, cheeks, and nose and started attaching them to Van Gogh’s self-portrait as if putting a puzzle together. After the face was completed, it hit the climax by setting Van Gogh’s main stage of his work, such as Provence and the studio as the background of the photo.

These recreated digital portraits of Van Gogh will be exhibited from August 2021 at the Vincent van GoghHuis in the Dutch village of Zundert, where Van Gogh was born. Along with portraits, the artist created Van Gogh’s masterpieces such as flower still life, landscapes, etc., for audiences to pleasantly enjoy the art works.

‘Just as my portrait of Van Gogh shows how I see him, others will see Van Gogh in their own ways’

The reason that the photos of Van Empel attracted the center of the attention was not because of the most perfect reproductions. Rather, it was important to have own interpretation with different views in a new way of representation.

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