David Datuna, a Georgian-born American artist, established his signature technique of laying a cascading veil of varying optical lenses over an intricate, multi-dimensional, interactive narrative. In December 2013 David Datuna became the first artist in the world to utilize Google Glass in a contemporary work of art with the piece ‘Portrait of America’- a part of his Viewpoint of Billions series.

The piece resembles an American Flag; the 12-foot ‘Portrait of America’, is made up of about 2,000 eyeglass lenses as well as 400 portraits of relevant Americans that either magnify or shrink underneath the glass.

The monumental flag, the first of 10 works in the “Viewpoint of Billions” series, is covered in Datuna’s signature style with hundreds of eyeglass lenses. Creating an experiential dialogue through a sculptural veil of optics, the artist uses different magnifications to draw the viewer to the thematic collage inside his work. The prismatic effects invite inspection, while offering a vehicle for observation, and expanding the definition of modern portraiture.

These embedded images include historical and contemporary American figures: George Washington, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson.

You must be wondering when and how the google glass factor comes into play here. It turns out that the premise of the piece comes alive when it is viewed with a pair of GG. It is then that the work turns into, what the artist calls, a living organism.

By working with Bricksimple, Datuna was able to construct a work that simultaneously worked as a standard tangible piece of art, to something that becomes alive digitally, through audio and visual clips presented on ‘our’ Google Glasses. By simply looking or speaking about the work, your voice and movement will trigger a series of short video clips and questions (to be answered by you) that further examine ideas of power and democracy and its relationship to the history and current state of the U.S. Ten cameras, embedded in the artwork, together with the built-in camera in the Google Glasses work to record your answers and to take your portrait. These clips of information, taken from you, will be archived as a part of the digital collage emebedded in the work. Your interaction with the artwork will also be sent out to the world via social media.

googleglass00-565x300 googleglass08-565x423 googleglass01-565x318 googleglass03-565x376 googleglass04-565x318 googleglass05-565x376 googleglass-565x753The work becomes, in a sense, a living and ever-changing archive that simultaneously works as a piece of art and a malleable and interactive biographical ‘text’ that takes shape into relevant historical (in both art history and world history) progress.


“It’s not about technology, it is about engagement. As artists we have to look at new and creative ways to engage a 21st Century audience, Google Glass is merely a tool to assist with expanding my narrative. I predict new tools like Glass and wearable technology will become part of a growing list of innovative tools for the art world in general to explore, in a variety of ways. I’m not a technology artist, this is traditional work I have been creating for over a decade. My concept behind including Glass is clear, how do I reach the most diverse and widest possible audience on a large scale to communicate my messages? We are at such an exciting time in our society in a world filled with innovation and access to information. What we all do with this information and innovation will ultimately shape our future in positive or negative ways. The Viewpoint of Billions series explores our past, present and challenges us to create an exciting and rewarding future.”

(via My Modern Met)