Video Artist Takes Over Every HDTV in Best Buy For Art Installation

John Mahoney

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As an electronics mega-retailer, Best Buy isn’t normally interested in anything but moving huge quantities of TVs, computers and appliances out of its gaping doors. But the Houston St. location in Manhattan did something unexpected last night: it approvingly looked the other way while video artist Borna Sammak took over every single HDTV in the store for to display his latest work.

Borna Sammak’s video paintings are meant for high-def televisions; the work mixes original processed footage and heavily treated rips from HD films–Planet Earth being a frequent source–all layered into a quick barrage of color and abstraction. So what better place to show it than on every available TV in our country’s largest HDTV supplier?

When you think of Best Buy, openness to experimental art is not the first quality that comes to mind. But Thomas McDonnel, who produced the show, says that all the branch’s manager needed to hear was “foot traffic” (the installation took place during regular store hours). After that, a nod from HQ was acquired with surprising ease–Sammak didn’t even have to pre-screen his videos for anyone.

So while it’s not quite the guerilla takeover you may have expected, still a nice change of pace from the typical manufacturer show reels on these sets normally. The rapid-fire, saturated colors actually seemed to serve as pretty decent test footage for some direct comparison shopping. You listening Best Buy? Turn all of your stores into galleries.

This placement was by far my favorite:

[See more of Sammak’s work here and here.]