This is a really clever marketing tool using photography. The prototype agency Breakfast has created a super complex billboard made entirely of spools of thread (6,400 to be exact). These bobbins are wrapped with fabric containing 36 colors and can mechanically recreate any image sent to its processor. Right now using the hashtag #f21threadscreen , clothing company Forever 21 will build and display any image on your instagram account in full 60 x 60 pixels live for the whole world to see.
The idea came from the innovative Brooklyn based company Breakfast which has become known for their innovative use of hardware to build installation pieces for Instagram. Their first well known piece was a really cool LED screen for TNT that allowed passersby to act out any movement in real time and have it show up on the screen with interesting effects. This concept called "Perception" is so interesting that I've included the behind the scenes video on how they created this first project below.
Perhaps their most well known creation was their Kickstarter titled "Instaprint" which was basically a photobooth that instantly printed any Instagram photograph containing the appropriate hashtag. With each one of these pieces of electronic art, Breakfast has not only created something that is really cool to use but the device is also incredibly interesting to look at from a design aspect. Check out the behind the scenes Kickstarter campaign from 2012 to see exactly how much work goes into these creations.
This week's release of the Forever 21 Thread Screen is by far the most complicated creation by Breakfast yet. The company's co-founder, Andrew Zolty, explains how the Thread Screen was originally proposed by the clothing company:
"Forever 21 was looking to experiment with something quite different than what they've done in the past. They gave us a rather open brief, and from the start we knew we wanted to build a web-connected experience that anyone could try from anywhere in the world. We focused on thread, with it being the most basic element of fashion and quite versatile. We also focused on Instagram, as it's the most artistic/creative of social networks, and Forever 21 has a massive following on there. [With 7.5 million followers, it's 45th most followed account.] The idea developed from there."
As you can see from the behind the scenes video above, this Instagram thread spinning machine is insanely complex. With over 6 miles of total thread and more than 600,000 parts and soldering points, the Thread Screen is a pretty neat way to watch your own photos appear pixel by pixel. If you want to see your own Instagram images built live on the Forever 21 Thread Screen, simply mark any of your images with the hashtag #F21ThreadScreen and head over to the official live Thread Screen page. This campaign will be running from now until July 28th so don't miss sharing one of your images in near 5 bit glory!