Another Digital Surface

The huge amount of input during the first days of this Media Lab made something very clear. The digital (art) world desperately needs new ways of presenting digital images. Digital screens are outrageously limiting.

Does anybody know of any type of screen that is enjoyable to look at? Even the most expensive designed digital screens on the market are horrible things to look at. This might be a subjective matter, but there is more.

Screens and projections of images all force the spectator to look in a certain direction.This is where the screen is and you have to be (mostly) right in front of it. Even worse, in the majority of the cases you have to be in a dark room.

Where are the square digital surfaces. the thorn up digital surfaces, the curved, the flexible, the coarse, the smooth, … that can be enjoyed from all directions in the broad daylight.

There are some existing alternatives for the traditional screen that come close to this dream of digital paper or paint. Let’s set the tone with this one:


E-Paint, a future vision movie about paintable displays

A bit naive and maybe silly, but still the idea is there.

You have the usual suspects like the OLED flexible screens by companies like Sony:


OLED flexible screen


Impressive may be, but still it is only another type of screen. And it has the limited look of the good old plastic. Other companies, like Philips, Samsung (and hammer proof!) are on the same track of course.

Then you have these type of real or invented rumors of certain industrial experiments that seems to prove that the idea of a type of paint that can be charged electronically is not so far fetch after all. Enters Nissan’s car with a color switch:

Well, well imagine this. But this is cars and metal. What about paper-like screens? Well e-ink is really coming close. Too bad there is still that plastic feel:


What we really need is to get rid of the plastic and get the paint itself or any other (color) material change (color) by electronic charges. It might help us to escape from the ubiquitous black box, the dark room with the eye blinding, Las-Vegas-style paralyzing screen or projection nightmares we have to suffer in just to many art and real world exhibit experiences.

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