Saturday, February 27, 2010

iPod accessory turns up in fine art museum

I'm in Chicago right now visiting some of my friends. Yesterday we decided to go to my old workplace, the Art Institute of Chicago, which has one of the best collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the world. Imagine my surprise when I found myself staring at a first-generation iPod shuffle accessory.

Some of you may remember this accessory from back in the day when Apple made the first shuffle that looked like a white stick of Wrigley's gum. The accessory/piece of art is called iBelieve and is basically a T-shaped cap that turns your first-gen iPod shuffle into a Cross you can wear around you neck.

The plaque next to the artwork reads:
Scott Wilson
American, born 1969

iBelieve, 2006
iPod shuffle, plastic, and fabric
(including replacement cap)

Before relocating to Chicago in 2006 to set up his own studio, industrial designer Scott Wilson was a lead designer at Nike and IDEO. His innovative projects run the gamut from furniture to household products to high-performance sports equipment. iBelieve is part of a series of self-produced works and was inspired by the current popularity of the iPod. The conceptual design consists of a replacement cap, or what Wilson refers to as a "divine accessory," for the iPod shuffle. When snapped onto a shuffle, the attachment creates a cruciform shape, which enables consumers to profess their devotion to this omnipresent electronic device. Conceived as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on consumer culture, Wilson took advantage of viral marketing techniques and posted the design to a blog, which received 250,000 hits in one day as a result.
I've always known about the various online Apple museums, but who could have imagined that a cap for one of Apple's worst-designed iPods would some day be hanging in the same museum with the likes of Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks?

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