Portrait of America via Google Glass #TechTuesday

Portrait of America

The National Portrait Gallery presented ‘Portrait of America’. Headlining the lineup of President Day activities and exhibits, Artist David Datuna’s interactive flag sculpture used Google Glass technology to engage its audience. Prior to it’s open, visitors readied themselves to rush the museum in order to view this particular exhibit. Despite arriving later then scheduled to my own meet up, I still managed to secure an optimum spot in line courtesy of a very patient Brit. Titled “Viewpoint of Billions,” the sculpture by artist David Datuna looks, from a distance, like an American flag. As you draw near, however, you’ll notice that its 12–foot surface is covered with a lattice of prescription lenses that either magnify or shrink portraits of historical and pop–culture figures.


Google Glass

Photo // David Datuna
Photo // David Datuna

Working with a developer called BrickSimple, David Datuna’s “Viewpoint of Billions” series, is a 12-foot multi-media flag that is the first public installation and artwork in the world to utilize Google Glass. Beneath the layer of lenses, Datuna placed portraits of the country’s greatest innovators, movers and shakers for the viewer to discover. Pop on one of several pairs of Google Glass eyewear that the tech giant donated to the project, and your proximity to the art activates a series of short videos that invite you to view portraits of America and respond to questions such as “What would you do if you were president?”  

Viewpoints of Billions:

Of course, exhibitors were also free to simply stand back and gawk. This is America. But Datuna’s mission for visitors was to engage them in a conversation about democracy and power. If a viewer opted in to the gimmick (after signing release forms), their responses —- whether profound or outrageous —- were captured on hidden cameras, to be live streamed and archived at www.datuna.com  and now uploaded on to youtube. These mulitimedia features were designed to provoke and record a reaction from viewers, which portray a nation sculpted from the viewpoints and perspectives of billions.

The Jump:

David Datuna’s ‘Viewpoint of Billions” stands as an inspiration for the visually and culturally driven artists and exhibitors. He bridges the divide between tech and art, while providing a glimpse into what could be. As we continue to develop An Art of Perspective (AAOP.me) into a community of thinkers, creatives, developers, travelers, and all in between, we hope to engage audiences and share in such enriching developments. Through different lenses we share focus on cultural and visual storytelling that encourage us to think socially, explore locally, and contribute globally. Building an archive of music, tech, world, creative, and travel experiences — AAOP.me is an artful discovery of adventures that enrich our individual perspective.


It’s not about technology, it is about engagement. As artists we have to look at new and creative ways to engage a 21st Century audience, Google Glass is merely a tool to assist with expanding my narrative. I predict new tools like Glass and wearable technology will become part of a growing list of innovative tools for the art world in general to explore, in a variety of ways.  I’m not a technology artist, this is traditional work I have been creating for over a decade. My concept behind including Glass is clear, how do I reach the most diverse and widest possible audience on a large scale to communicate my messages? We are at such an exciting time in our society in a world filled with innovation and access to information. What we all do with this information and innovation will ultimately shape our future in positive or negative ways. The Viewpoint of Billions series explores our past, present and challenges us to create an exciting and rewarding future. David Datuna, Artis

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About the Author
Mariel Kanene is Founder and Editor of TheArtOfPersptive.co and lead storyteller with a focus on people, place and purpose. His passion for storytelling was born in Kinshasa, Congo, groomed in Dallas, Texas, and cultivated in Washington, DC. Mariel now resides in Los Angeles, CA. By day, Mariel spends his days slowly trying to change the world—one meaningful interaction at a time. When Mariel is not in the office, he spends his free time in athletic pursuits from weightlifting to yoga, swimming, and the ocassional boxing class.  He loves good conversations over good coffee and even better rum. He hates talking about himself in third person. Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin .

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