Future Hat is a work of art that explores notions of futurism during three periods of rapid technological change: pre WWI late industrial revolution, post WWII analog electronics revolution, and early 21st century digital electronics revolution. This is accomplished by combining iconic technologies and aesthetic elements from each era into a single multimedia artistic experience. From the Industrial Revolution, the piece incorporates zoetropic motion pictures, the top hat, and The Futurist Manifesto of the Hat by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. From the mid-20th century, it include an analog electronic record player and imagery from the space race. Finally from the 21st century, Future Hat present LEDs, modern electronics, digital photographic reproductions, and the hacker esthetic of repurposing technology to create boutique electronic devices.
Future Hat consists of two parts, a hat and a stand. The hat displays stroboscopic animation when spun either by the motorized stand or, for maximum interactivity, a wearer of the hat. The stand produces audio and spins the hat.
A white top hat with a six inch crown has been created with three sets of twenty-four sequential images, of two Apollo space launches and an archer shooting an arrow. Embedded in the brim of the hat are a series of LED lights which strobe when the hat is spun. This causes the sequential images to animate, the rockets to appear to launch and the archer to appear to shoot. The strobe lights are controlled by electronics and powered by batteries concealed in the crown of the hat allowing it to operate independently of the stand. It can be comfortably worn by a patron and if the wearer of can spin at close to 33 1/3 RPMs, onlookers can view the animation.
A mid-20th century portable record player and a record have been used as the base for the stand. Mounted at the center of the record is a tall shaft on which the hat sits. The record is a custom printed vinyl recording of a new reading of “The Futurist Manifesto of the Hat.” When the Stand is activated, the record plays the manifesto and the hat displays its animation.