My favorite part of The Lab was HP's lounge, which had its own theme -- "Digital Eden." The cool, air-conditioned tent was dripping with flowers, both motorized and real, which made for a gorgeous spectacle. Visitors could control the dozen or so mechanical flowers at the Bloom Art station by choosing the colors of the buds and petals. You could also design and print your own water-bottle wrap at the Hydration Art station, and HP stuck them onto water bottles attendees could fill up at the fountains next to the station. At the Light Art booth, people posed for eight-second videos while using a light pen to draw virtual art around them.
For HP, the benefits of participating in the event are obvious. Emily Ketchen, HP's regional head of marketing for the Americas, told Engadget that not only do attendees' sentiments about the company improve after seeing its work at Panorama, but "from the social perspective, it's really, really good for us."
That's a no-brainer, of course. The barrage of social media posts featuring the HP logo is free publicity that easily reaches the company's target audience: millennials. But what's less obvious is that HP actually seems to be resonating with the artist community. In addition to providing all the equipment creators needed for their works, HP also helped artists achieve their visions. In demonstrating what's possible, the company also inspires those who want to dabble in tech-infused art.
Jonathan Zawada, the artist behind Visage, told Engadget that in working on the project with Intel and HP, realizing what was possible helped inspire 20 more ideas. "All I've been saying is I want to do it again, and do it better, and try this and that," he said. Zawada's first work with projection mapping was a light show on the Sydney Opera House and although he wasn't very interested in the tech at the start, he has since become more keen on it.
Perhaps the real reason for The Lab's existence isn't so much to educate its audience as it is to inspire curious artists. Imparting deeper messages isn't the goal here, but if viewers have fun in the process, it's a great side effect. For Bolognino, it's all about "taking cosmic themes and making it super fun," because at the end of the day, "that's what the kids want."