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Dapper Labs Backs Art Hardware Startup Infinite Objects In $6 Million Dollar Seed Raise
Infinite Objects CEO Joe Saavedra tells TechCrunch they’ve raised $6 million in seed funding from a host of backers including Courtside VC, which led the deal, and NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs.
For the longest time, Infinite Objects was an NFT platform without the NFTs. The company has worked with artists since 2018 to make (often limited run) series of physical display frames highlighting a specific digital work of the artist that looped forever. Sure, users could watch that looping video on the Infinite Objects website whenever they wanted, but the value was in owning an official copy of that artist’s work. Sound familiar?
When the wider popularity of NFTs as a speculative asset hit earlier this year, Saavedra saw a huge opportunity as internet users began discussing the future of digital art and digital scarcity. His team had already flirted with NFTs, partnering with artist Beeple back in December — months before he would spring out of relative obscurity in art circles with a $69 million sale at the Christie’s auction house — to release “physical tokens” of NFTs he was selling on the platform Nifty Gateway.
Saavedra sees a bigger opportunity for companies and creators in the NFT world to make their assets more approachable and understandable to a general audience with what his company is building, but he also sees a chance to transform NFTs from blind ownership to something more focused on actually appreciating the digital art that’s been purchased.
“When it comes to ownership, it’s exciting to be buying an NFT for $500 or $5,000, but what’s not exciting is having to open Safari on your phone to show it off,” Saavedra tells TechCrunch. “This physical vessel that we’ve designed is just so understandable for people who maybe don’t even understand what the blockchain at all, but they certainly understand limited edition physical merchandise.”
Where To Buy Art Online
New concepts utilize tech in moving images. “Azikiwe Mohammed’s Looking for Solace from Infinite Objects is an innovative take on the limited edition—a work of video art that can fit on your desk,” says Duffy. “It’s also an incredible opportunity to live with a work of art by a New York Times–lauded artist.”
INFINITE OBJECTS BRINGS VIDEO ART INTO THE HOME
LOOPING, EDITIONED ARTWORKS THAT ELEVATE THE HUMBLE GIF
The idea for Infinite Objects is simple: to make video art more collectable and accessible. Born from a collaboration between product development studio Planeta and GIF search engine Giphy, the members of both teams were exploring how GIFs and video art could be enjoyed outside of phones—and indeed outside of galleries. The company just released its first collection of artworks, including pieces by Sebastian Schmieg, Sara Ludy, Allison Bagg and others, with some pieces playing on a loop of a few seconds and others lasting some 15+ minutes. We spoke with founder Joe Saavedra (formerly of Planeta) about the release.
This project brings digital/video art into homes and offices and private spaces, and surely in front of more people. Was part of company’s goal to make this type of art more accessible?
Accessibility is a core aspect of our mission. For moving image artworks, the idea of permanently marrying a digital piece to a physical object inherently changes how collectors can own and display a video art piece. However we see a ton of potential across all types of video—whether it be entertainment, popular culture, sports, video games, and of course user generated, personal content. In terms of accessibility, our current price point reflects the value of the content. Our long-term mission is to make video collectible across those content categories and making it as cost-friendly as possible.
Rather than looking like a regular screen or a device, the pieces are sophisticated works of art. Can you tell us a little about the process and thinking behind landing on this acrylic design?
Our product is explicitly not a gadget—it features no buttons, switches, or connectivity, and certainly does not require use of an app. The primary goal with this design was to make a display not feel like a tablet; the last thing we want is someone to feel that they can tap or swipe our display. Our goal is to present moving images in their purest form. In many ways our product is like “paper” on which we “print” video—and the acrylic design was where we landed in trying to achieve this. That being said, we are working on a variety of form factors and materials, to make our physical form as flexible as the content it can hold.
Can you tell us about what’s planned for the future—perhaps plans to work with different artists, shows and more?
The future is extremely exciting. We are continuing with art commissions and exploring what perpetually present video can mean, how it can look and feel, and how collectors live with video in this format. Editioned moving image artworks are just the beginning in terms of our audience. We are working with a diverse group of content creators, publishers, marketers, and partners to explore how this approach to selling, owning, and valuing video can be a game changer across audiences. In 2020, we’ll also become the first “printers” of Live Photos and video for the general public. Before you know it, you’ll be sending your mom a moving moment for her birthday or your partner a video valentine.
34 Things That Might Make You Think "Is This The Future?"
A beautiful moving image that'll play in a perpetual loop for 24 hours.
Giphy and Infinite Objects will let you gift a physical GIF to your valentine
This Valentine’s Day, let that special someone know your love is as infinite as a GIF that loops forever. Giphy is partnering with “video printing” company Infinite Objects to sell six Valentine’s-themed GIFs that are memorialized on a digital display and will sell for $49 each. The original GIFs were created by Giphy Studios, the company’s in-house creative agency, and they feature cute animations like cherries, cats, and dinosaurs in love.
But $49 sounds like a lot for something that’s basically a digital photo frame with even less functionality since the videos can’t be swapped. Infinite Objects’ aim is to be more of an art collectible than a gadget. Its pieces are normally editioned displays that start around the $250 price point and treat each video as a limited piece of art. “You are not buying a gadget; you are collecting a video,” the company explains on its FAQ page. “An Infinite Object is a looping video in a permanent display that you can’t update. There are no buttons, no connectivity, and no app.”
Infinite Objects' Digital Frames Let You Physically Collect Videos
Infinite Objects just launched a collection of digital artworks housed in frames as if they were traditional paintings or photographs. Stemming from a partnership between GIPHY and design firm Planeta, Infinite Objects aims to change the way digital art is collected and valued through by bringing a moving image’s context outside of the smart device realm and into the real world.
The company’s goal is to elevate the idea of moving art by delivering owners the same experience as collecting art prints or photographs while giving digital artists a way to edition and sell their work. The frames can hold up to 24 hours of video content and do not include any buttons, connect to any apps or need to be updated. Instead of cycling through multiple artworks or photographs like digital photo albums, Infinite Objects’ frames house only one digital image that plays on an infinite loop.
For its first launch, Infinite Objects has teamed up with eleven different artists, including Andrej Ujhazy, Peter Burr, Sara Ludy and more to create limited-edition versions of its digital frames.
“We are always seeing beautiful moments on screens that we don’t get to spend nearly enough time with,” says artist Jeremy Couillard. “They are often in online video clips, fleeting scenes in film or Looping in art galleries as video we cannot access at home. Infinite Objects is an opportunity to make a video that could be Lived with, something that wasn’t just to quick consume online or in a video game.”
Infinite Objects Video Prints have me hating how much I love them
There are some GIFs I could watch forever — the Shaq-and-kitty shake, for one. But buying a deliberately crippled, single-purpose, digital photo frame to do so leaves me feeling uneasy at best, and like a horrible consumer at worst. If you have fewer qualms, Infinite Objects wants to help. It’s launching what The Verge calls an “on-demand video printing service” and using six Valentine’s Day-inspired perma-GIFs to promote it.
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BEST FOR THE ART LOVER/FOR THE ARTSY GUY
Infinite Objects is the lovechild of Giphy and Planeta, and is essentially a “printed” video. The frames display up to 24 hours of video content on a single loop. It’s a permanent display, meaning you can’t change the video and there are no updates, apps, or buttons. It’s just art that moves. Pretty cool, right?
8 Collectors and Curators Share the Art on Their Holiday Wish Lists
If we could get one thing for Christmas, it would be the Infinite Objects edition by Jeremy Couillard—we are so impressed that finally someone worked out how to make a cool object with a movie in it that you can put on your mantle! Genius! But it sold out immediately…so we are hoping that Santa saved one.