Calling all artists: Japanese luxury automaker Infiniti is sponsoring a digital art competition. Be forewarned, however, that it comes with strings attached.
The gist: Infiniti has partnered with the high-concept art magazine Designboom to create a "Digital Art Competition". Contestants have three options: they can create (1) a work designed for interior display, (2) a work designed to be shown on the facade of a building, or (3) both.
The contest rolls out in three stages, each centered around a theme. The first theme is "INSPIRED PERFORMANCE". (The other two will be announced in the coming months.) A jury of experts -- specifically, the CTO of Red Bull Racing, the creative director of Super Nature Design, the editor-in-chief of Designboom, and the marketing director for Infiniti Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa -- will evaluate all submissions and pick three interior works and three exterior works as finalists. Those works will be put on display at Infiniti showrooms across Europe, and the visiting public will vote to determine a winner.
In all, one winner will be chosen for each of the three themes. According to the rules and regs, the winning entries "will be clearly linked to Infiniti's DNA". Winners will receive a prize of 10,000 Euros (roughly $14,250).
What Infiniti is doing isn't unusual. Companies host art competitions all the time to tout their brand and lure in design-conscious shoppers. Granted, most contest sponsors don't encourage participants to use specific fonts, logos, or images, but there's nothing wrong with micromanaging a competition when you're footing the bill, we suppose.
However there are a few things that irk us a little:
1. In its press release, Infiniti throws around the term "digital art" as if it's something brand new and cutting-edge, when in fact, artists have been creating environmental installations with computers for several decades.
2. In that same press release, Infiniti trashes fine arts like theatre and ballet because -- quoting Italian designer Ettore Sottsass Jr. -- "Industry does not need to buy culture, because industry is culture". Follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, and you get a world full of Range Rover Evoque sculptures but very little else.
3. But perhaps most of all, the contest is only rolling out in Europe, which means those of us in the U.S. won't be able to see the final products -- at least not in person. Dangit.
If you think you've got the chops for the "INSPIRED PERFORMANCE" phase of the competition, fire up that copy of After Effects asap: the entry deadline is at noon (your time) this Sunday, July 10. Get started here -- and good luck.