Monday, March 06, 2006

Mass Producing Uniqueness

Josh Davis may not be the one to move the idea to mass market, but it will happen. The modern consumer seeks clothing which will set them apart from the crowd and at the same time, perhaps ironically, fit within a certain range of acceptablity. Hence, the market for mass produced uniqueness. Clothing retailers already push wares that give the illusion of uniqueness or personalization, yet each "unique" item is one of thousands (American Eagle, as a particularily strong example). Which is why Josh Davis' dream is the future.

Davis creates what he calls generative composition machines: applications written with his collaborator Branden Hall, using open source code and Flash to automate his sketches. He plugs in multiple options - say, five different drawings of a tree trunk, 10 types of leaves, seven branches, 15 critters that can live in the foliage, and 12 background colors. Then his code morphs the image from pastoral scenescape into any number of moving visuals - a time-lapse sequence of continental drift, a single frame of anime burning in front of a projector lens, or a Japanese landscape painting rendered as spin art.

Wired 14.03: The Chaos of Joshua Davis

However, if you think scaled social networks will always be better than machines, there is always Threadless.

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