Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mercedes As Art

Mercedes-Benz F015 concept. All photos courtesy of Daimler.
Mercedes teamed up with artist Sarah Illenberger to create some one-of-a-kind art. When I first heard about this, I thought it would be another art car project, which I see all the time, and are usually pretty mundane. Instead I was blow away, because the results are something you have to see to believe.

I personally think that the F015 Luxury in Motion concept car is ugly, mostly because it strongly resembles a car-sized suppository. The fact that Illenberger can take such a challenging shape and turn it into some compelling art is impressive, to say the least.

The whole point of these art installations is supposed to be to draw attention to Mercedes' autonomous drive technology. People are technophobes are skittish towards big leaps in innovation - like housemakers back in the day who were concerned about the potential health side effects of cooking using a microwave. Using art, Mercedes is able to soften up the image of autonomous drive tech, showing a human connection to it. Too often engineers forget the human end of things, which works to alienate the end user, and that's a big turnoff. Considering how scary a car that drives itself can be fore people, it's best to eliminate as many negatives from the equation as possible.

Now if only Mercedes would create a fully-autonomous vehicle that didn't share an overall shape with a less-than-pleasant medical device. That right there would get a lot more people on board.

Interestingly enough, Illenberger did one art installation for something other than the F015, and I think it might be the best one. The whole analogy with burning rubber is beautiful and emotive at the same time, embodying to me some of the best things about cars of any era.

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