Why Toyota Prius And Vice’s Creators Project Are Commissioning Art Installations

The “Future Forward” partnership looks at innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and eco-consciousness as an artform.

The Prius isn’t really a sexy brand these days. It’s been more than a decade since the redesigned model debuted to become a marker of a sort of middle-class eco-consciousness, and these days that’s all a lot less exciting than, say, the prospect of a Tesla that’s actually affordable for people who aren’t strictly in the high-end luxury car market. But it’s still here, with the newly designed fourth-generation model out there reminding motorists that being conscious of the amount of gas you use, and making thoughtful choices about consumption can look pretty good, too. Now the brand has partnered with Vice’s The Creators Project on the art installation series “Future Forward” to make clear how good those things can look.


The partnership involves The Creators Project tapping artists and design collectives–Nonotak, a collaboration between illustrator Noemi Schipfer and architect/musician Takami Nakamoto; architect/designer/artist Doris Sung; and creative studio VT Pro Design–to create an all-new installation “inspired by a particular theme of the new Prius,” which according to The Creators Project, are cutting-edge technology, design, and eco-heritage.

“Future Forward is part of an ongoing expansion of The Creators Project’s mission to support the creation of meaningful original works,” says Gerhard Stochl, The Creators Project publisher. “In Toyota and the all-new 2016 Prius, we have a one-of-a-kind partner that continues to inspire and enable us to help make great art that’s accessible to everyone.”

VT Pro’s focus on “eco-heritage” resulted in an installation that the collective describes as “a free-standing, organic living sculpture that lives and breathes on its own, but also invites interaction” by using sensor technology to allow the sculpture’s reactions to be driven by the audience.

Doris Sung’s technology-focused piece, meanwhile, is a “kinetic chandelier” built around material responsiveness. “The piece will be made of thermal-bimetal, a material that expands and contracts with temperature swings independent of any driving electronic mechanism,” Sung says. “So the sculpture’s behavior–that of perpetual motion–is essentially programmed through the use of this material technology.”

Nonotak’s design-focused installation is an “infinity room” that the duo says they’d been thinking about for a while. “When The Creators Project approached us about the program, we took it as an opportunity to really run with a very basic concept we’d had, and design a much larger and more immersive infinity room. It’s a really simple idea that embodies a lot about the [possibilities and future of design].”

The installations will be showcased at events in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in the coming months. Those who can’t make it out will get to see them through video and editorial content on The Creators Project’s Future Forward hub, for a behind-the-scenes look at the processes that went into the work.


About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.