Application & Interactions – Week 7: Positioning and Trends

Week 7 Lecture & Resources


Trend Research

Asos – Visual Search Tool

The online fashion retailer Asos introduced an innovative feature to their smartphone ecommerce app in 2018 – effectively a reverse-image search tool, which allows users to upload a photograph or image of clothing and utilises AI technology to analyse the image. This data, for example the colours, patterns and the style of clothing featured in the image, is then used to make recommendations of similar items from the Asos online catalogue.

“All you need to do is upload a picture from your photo library or snap one and we’ll do the rest. We’ll help you find the product in the picture, or recommend something similar.” (Asos 2021)

A demo of using the Style Match feature on the Asos (UK) iOS app.
I used a screengrab from a different online retailer (Killstar) in the image search, Asos results are shown on the far right.

This is interesting, because it uses technology to tap into the trend for consumers wanting to sartorially emulate street style, their favourite celebrities or “influencers” – and presumably can potentially increase online sales. Something similar, harnessing artificial intelligence to analyse images submitted by a user, could potentially be used to bring up results from the Science Museum’s digital collections.


Generative Design

Robots as creators

The Artistes et Robots exhibition was designed by Studio Automatico and featured innovative art, exploring the idea that artificial intelligence can be harnessed to make creative work. I thought this was a really intriguing concept and I also imagine these developments in AI and robotics crossing boundaries between art and science would definitely be something that is of interest to the Science Museum Group.

Exhibition view from Artistes et Robots. Exhibition design by Studio Automatico.

Combining Art and Technology at Google

One of the Slogans for the Class of 2030 by Douglas Coupland.

Artist and author Douglas Coupland joined the Google Arts & Culture Lab residency in Paris, where he has collaborated with engineers to develop many works, including the Search Book and the Living Internet. As artist-in-residence at Google, he worked with Google researchers to produce a new series of slogans generated using machine learning, called ‘Slogans for the Class of 2030,’ aimed at graduates of the future.

An example of one of the Slogans for the Class of 2030 by Douglas Coupland.

Science Museum Lates

“Lates is one of the Museum’s biggest events, staged on the last Wednesday of each month (except December) and themed around a science-related subject. It’s free and attracts around 4,000 visitors over the course of each night.

“The average age range of visitors is 18–35, usually young professionals looking for a free, fun and engaging night out.” (Science Museum n.d.)


Workshop Challenge

Mission Statement

To use storytelling in a creative way to highlight the work of under-represented women in photography.

By bringing to light the story of Anna Atkins, generally considered one of the earliest female photographers (if not the first), and her pioneering botanical work, created using the cyanotype process developed by Sir John Herschel, I hope to inspire young adults to try it for themselves and delve deeper into the hidden history of women in this field.


Trend Moodboards

1. AI & Generative Design
In a digital age, it’s becoming impossible to escape the rise of artificial intelligence, so we might as well embrace it and see how technology can be harnessed to create something new and exciting.

2. Natural World
The natural world has become a real focus with the concerns of climate change, sustainability and carbon awareness. That said, it is also an incredible source of inspiration for creativity and we can learn so much from observing and studying nature in all its myriad forms.

3. Craft & Making
There has been a resurgence of interest in creating using more analogue methods, perhaps because we spend so much time online and/or staring at screens that making something with our hands is a way to reconnect with the tangible world and the things we love.

Examples include the recent rise in popularity of craft kits, people making (or mending) their own clothes, stationery and art material subscription boxes (e.g. Papergang and Artful), adult colouring books, and hands-on creative workshops. I discovered that the Science Museum hosted one of their “Lates” evenings in 2013 themed around photography, which included an opportunity for people (predominantly aged 18-35) to try silk screen printing.


Reflection on the week

After reflecting, having created my three moodboards, I actually think it makes sense for me to go forward by blending two of them: the natural world moodboard, along with the craft + making one, feel like a good fit for my project, particularly because of the subject matter in Anna Atkins being botanical in nature, but also because the act of creating cyanotype prints is a physical, analogue process that is done by hand.


Inspired by several of my fellow students and the discussions on the Ideas Wall this week, I decided to start a standalone Padlet board to keep track of my research for the Science Museum project. I realised this can be a really useful way to see links at a glance and have them divided into different categories for ease of use.

https://padlet.com/catmcl/science

References

Asos. 2021. ‘How does your Style Match feature work?’ Available at https://www.asos.com/customer-care/product-stock/how-does-your-style-match-feature-work/ [accessed 10/11/2021]

Automatico Studio. 2021. ‘Artistes et Robots.’ Available at
https://www.automaticostudio.com/reunion-des-musees-nationaux-grand-palais-2/ [accessed 11/09/2021]

COUPLAND, Douglas. 2021. ‘Slogans for the Class of 2030.’ Experiments with Google. Available at https://experiments.withgoogle.com/douglas-coupland [accessed 10/11/2021]

Elias Hanzer. ‘Phase.’ Available at https://www.eliashanzer.com/phase/ [accessed 11/11/2021]

Facebook. ‘Science Museum.’ Available at https://www.facebook.com/sciencemuseumlondon [accessed 05/12/2021]

Glamour. 2021. ‘We tested out ASOS’s Style Match and here’s our verdict.’ Available at https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/asos-style-match-review [accessed 10/11/2021]

Google Arts & Culture. ‘Slogans for the Class of 2030 by Douglas Coupland.’ Available at https://artsandculture.google.com/story/slogans-for-the-class-of-2030-by-douglas-coupland/vQURjwPHHpa5uw [accessed 10/11/2021]

Leith. 2021. ’Making art accessible online.’ Available at https://leith.co.uk/work/accessible [accessed 15/11/2021]

Mintel. Available at https://www.mintel.com [accessed 03/11/2021]

Naturalis. Available at https://www.naturalis.nl/en/museum/ [accessed 03/11/2021]

RAYMOND, Martin. 2010. The Trend Forecaster’s Handbook. London: Laurence King. ​​​​​​​

Science Museum. ‘Be a part of Science Museum’s Lates.’ Available at https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/be-part-science-museums-lates [accessed 05/12/2021]

Science Museum. ‘Lates.’ Available at https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/lates [accessed 05/12/2021]

The Future Laboratory. Available at https://www.thefuturelaboratory.com/ [accessed 02/11/2021]

World Global Style Network (WGSN). Available at https://www.wgsn.com/ [accessed 02/11/2021]