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Beck's Launches Virtual Art Galleries

'Green Box Project' funds mobile-powered installations

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Beck’s beer fancies itself a patron of the arts.

Eager to associate itself with what it sees as the cool crowd—or in the words of the import brand, “independent thinkers”—Beck’s has launched the “Green Box Project,” an ongoing campaign that has commissioned works from designers, musicians, and other creative professionals, and will showcase them in seven cities across the U.S. and Europe. The twist: Rather than hanging the pieces in traditional galleries, Beck’s is presenting them in augmented reality installations—a series of 30 glowing 6.5-foot cubes that viewers must unlock with smartphones in order to “reveal” the work that’s hidden inside. Like the brewer’s bottle, each box is green.

The heavy lifting falls to the campaign’s iPhone and iPad apps (Android to come), which are designed to determine a user’s proximity to an installation by pinpointing a phone’s GPS location, then display the work and related content (such as interviews with the creators) on their screens.

Case in point: The first installation. Belgian conceptual sculptor Arne Quinze kicked off the campaign by designing a new, giant, and completely virtual flame for the torch held by the Statute of Liberty. Strangely though, Quinze's piece doesn't actually use one of the Green Box Project's namesake green boxes. Instead, it's viewable by anyone with the app who's located close enough to the statue in New York City.

The campaign, produced with creative shop Mother London, also includes boxes scattered in Los Angeles; Miami; London and Manchester, England; and Rome and Milan, Italy. Joining Quinze on the long roster of hired artistic guns are fashion photographer Nick Knight; DJ and producer Sam Spiegel, who also scored the soundtrack for Mother New York’s award-winning transformation of the Standard Hotel into a building-sized light show for retailer Target; and self-styled “jellymongers” Bompass and Parr, the irreverent confectioners who build oversized, attention-grabbing sculptures out of sweets.

Beck’s has also issued an open call for submissions, promising to bankroll and feature a total of 1,000 pieces over the next three years. Knight and Spiegel will curate the competition, choosing which submissions will make the cut.