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Say cheese, the fridge will take your picture now

July 25, 2012|By Mick Swasko | RedEye

It's an aged refrigerator retrofitted with a digital camera, made to look like a giant retro-style camera. It's got a giant red button on the front, and using solar power, it's been taking pictures of tourists at 400 N. Michigan Ave. and uploading them online automatically for more than a week.

The technological mash-up, dubbed "Fridge Pic," is part of an art installation called "MetamorFridges" sponsored by Com-Ed, a project which takes old refrigerators and repurposes them in to functional art. For the trio of minds behind "Fridge Pic," the installation is a way to document those who have seen their work.

"They are taking away an experience with them," said Floyd Davis, the owner of Artpentry, one of the companies that partnered to construct the installation. Along with Gabriel Dziekiewicz, the director of marketing and design at DesignBridge--a collaboration of artists and designers in Chicago--and Kenneth Hanus, a partner at Blackwood Group--a general contracting and construction management company--the three brought the idea to life. The collaboration spurred "B.A.D. Ideas," an acronym for the trio of companies involved.

"I think that's one of the most fun things about the piece, the fact that we get to see the people interacting with it is really interesting," Dziekiewicz said. Some who have hit the big red button have held a sign wishing a friend a happy birthday, others are street musicians who perform in front of the oversized cameras. Still others, Dziekiewicz said, look puzzled at exactly what the piece is.

The hundreds of photos per day that Fridge Pic produces are uploaded to the site fridgepic.net, where they are then posted to a flickr.com page. A sign on the installation directs those who have gotten a photo snapped to the site, where they can view it later and also see the art installation's message about recycling.

It took months to plan and more than a week to build, but the group said it's gratifying to see those who have interacted with the piece, which will be up until Aug. 19.

For more information, click here.

mswasko@tribune.com |@mickswasko


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