Few simple pleasures approach that of a makeshift outdoor theater — that is, a movie projected onto any available wall — on a summer evening. Imagine if you could have your own personal cinema and invite all your neurotic friends over for a Woody Allen love fest. Well, that could be insufferable, but at least you wouldn’t have to pay $8 for popcorn. That’s sort of the idea Aaron Jones’s YouTube, a kit of parts that can be erected into a guerrilla theater for spontaneous video watching. And here’s the mandatory twist: It runs off a smartphone.
The project made its first appearance on the campus of Jones’s alma mater, Cranbrook Academy of Art, where it was constructed from an interlocking system of off-the-shelf galvanized-steel fence pipes, which the artist bent into a structure resembling the frame of a traditional, pitch-roofed house. Seen from afar, it could be mistaken for a sculpture made from giant drinking straws. According to the architect, it’s possible to put the whole thing together in about a day.
People can laze on the sloped floor and roll down the fabric screen to play videos, or soak up unobstructed views against the backdrop of an iTunes-generated soundtrack. The setup is straightforward: From its docking station, the phone connects to a high-end receiver, which then reroutes the information to the speakers and projector. According to Jones’s statement, “The project is based on the assumption that the Internet (Wi-Fi) can potentially deliver entertainment and information into any place, even a neighborhood that may be overlooked or discounted.” Come June, the theater will be installed in its permanent home — a garage in the often overlooked and discounted city of Detroit.