In 2014, Electric Objects emerged as one of the most exciting digital art platforms with its EO1, a framed screen that displays the most beautiful parts of the internet on your wall. Now the startup is working with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and American technologist Jacob Applebaum to release a digital version of their collaborative work Panda To Panda exclusively for its customers during the month of October.
Ai and Applebaum originally created the the piece last year for Rhizome’s Seven by Seven conference, an initiative that pairs up seven artists with seven technologists and gives them 24 hours to create a collaborative piece of art. When they met in Berlin–along with the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who documented the visit for her film “Art of Dissent”–they bought 20 toy panda bears and stuffed them with shredded N.S.A. documents that were originally leaked by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden. And it was a natural fit, as the pair are two of the most famous living political dissidents: Ai’s artwork is openly critical of the Chinese government and Applebaum’s work with Wikileaks and Anonymous has made him a target of the U.S. government.
Electric Objects saw the work as the perfect piece to offer to their customers, so director of artist relations Zoe Salditch had the piece photographed and made into a digital print that will come already loaded onto the EO1 for the month of October only. A portion of the proceeds will go to Rhizome to put toward future conferences.
“Doing a limited edition is so strange when it comes to digital art. We wanted to bring attention to the piece, and one way you do that is make it feel precious,” says Jake Levine, CEO of Electric Objects. “We want to bring visibility to this partnership and to the work. If we put it in people’s homes, then it is up weeks and months.”
The special edition EO1 is available for $600 on Electric Object’s website.