âImagine you go to an art gallery and a painting catches your eye. You walk towards it. Then you realize that the paint changes from second to second. Justin Higgins explains the 24 hour reception, a digital project that has gnawed at him since its launch in February. âEvery second of the day, someone can upload an image, and once it’s uploaded, that second is theirs. You can own a second of time, and I hold this thing forever.
Website visitors are greeted with this message from the artist. “Dear visitor, the square above represents the current second of the day and can be used to promote anything* you want. You will see him again in 24 hours. Everyday. Forever. If you see something you like, click on it and it will take you to the contributor’s site. The project is complete when the 86,400 seconds of the day are posted. ”
Justin Higgins: software developer turned contemporary artist
Higgins does not fit the mold of a typical contemporary artist. Describing himself as analytical, he attended Berkeley to study physics and astrophysics.
During ten years as a professional software engineer, Higgins collaborated on several large projects. He was one of the first engineers of Beats Music before Spotify was in the United States. After his company was acquired by Apple, he began to branch out and work on other big ideas, including a company acquired by Microsoft and a political text messaging service. If you’ve received a text from a politician in 2020, you’ve probably seen his work.
Higgins thrives on the creative synergy of software development. He says, âI like the process. I like people. I love taking an idea from the mental cloud to the code cloud. What could prompt this satisfied software engineer to venture into the arena of artistic expression?
Justin Higgins Crash Course in Sales and Marketing
Higgins launched The 24-Hour Homepage as a way to launch beyond the borders of his comfort zone. After leaving Apple, he tried his hand at several engineering projects on his own.
He had high hopes for Selfless, his mobile resource sharing app, but after several years, he admitted defeat and shut down the app.
After the fact, Higgins realized his mistakes. Convinced that his product’s network would grow organically, he had completely ignored marketing. âI learned a lot about building things and running a small business on my own,â says Higgins. âBut the most important thing I’ve learned is that I’m an Internet introvert. I wasn’t doing much at all to promote the product.
This failure helped inspire The 24-Hour Homepage. Higgins’ project is contemporary art, social experience and self-discovery at the same time. âI wanted something that would force me to work on what I feel is an uncomfortable skill,â he explains. “I wanted to develop my ability to talk to strangers and get them to look at my work.”
Justin Higgins and content creators collaborate
To market the unsold seconds on its site, Higgins has set up a network. âI’ve reached out to content creators – anyone who I think tells a unique story,â he says. âThey are my most valuable clients. These people were like, âYes, I love it! Let me think about something. When you have that many creatives filling 86,400 seconds, there is so much scope for what the global 24 hour movie can become.
One of Higgins’ most exciting victories has been a collaboration with Vinyl Moon, a monthly music subscription club. âThey source the music from all over the world, then they find an artist to do all the branding and creative packaging,â he says.
A longtime subscriber, Higgins decided that Vinyl Moon would be perfect for the 24 Hour Home Page. He emailed customer support and after several months pitched his idea to the CEO of the company. âI can’t tell you too much about their contribution,â he notes. âI don’t want to spoil their collaboration, and part of the 24-Hour Homepage experience is for you to experience the images as they appear in real time. But believe me when I say it’s gonna be amazing.
As the project grows, more and more seconds of the day are organically filled with people Higgins has never met. One of his favorite contributions was a simple poem written in Spanish. âAccording to Google Translate – my Spanish is not great -â he says, âit’s a love letter for the future. It’s a heartfelt message in a bottle.
The 24 hour home page is a work in progress
People are talking about the homepage around the clock, and there are a lot of opinions. “It’s a polarizing idea,” comments Higgins. âFor example, you can talk to businessmen or entrepreneurs on Reddit who don’t understand. They are now thinking about the project in terms of traditional advertising and site audience. But then you talk to an artist or a creative person, and it clicks. They see the project as an artefact of the Internet.
The story of the project is a continuous journey. Higgins contacted marketers early on and publicly documented the entire experience. He records his thoughts and the reactions of his subscribers since the launch of the site. âIt’s something that I’m looking to the future,â he says. “I take care of it and I maintain it, and if it takes me ten years to complete the project, then in ten years you will see a full 24 hour work of art.” I work hard to make it the best 24 hour “movie” experience on the Internet. “
Posted on December 5, 2021