Celebrating the ‘Everyday Genius’ in Philadelphia
The all-virtual portrait gallery plays like a video game as part of Da Vinci Fest Live.
What makes someone a genius? By society’s rigorous, unforgiving standards it equates to those accumulating the most college degrees and debt, or those that hit it big without either, and invent the next big thing to push humanity forward.
But in the grand scheme of humanity, both of those definitions fall well short of the definition of genius as it’s defined in the virtual exhibit, Everyday Genius, featured as part of Da Vinci Fest Live.
“We really wanted to find an authentic, fun, and creative way to turn our focus towards the community, and the people using creativity and innovation at the community level beyond our gallery walls,” said Jarrod Markman, executive director at the Da Vinci Art Alliance.
While some of those recognized fit the previously mentioned standards and are leaders in their own right in the community, Markman said others recognized are a product of everyday people looking into their lives for leaders in any facet of life.
“People who have everyday jobs, who are advancing in their fields, and doing good for the community,” he said.
In all, 81 people were honored as part of the project, including four of five 2020 AL DÍA Hispanic Heritage Award Archetypes: Dr. Jack Ludmir, Dr. Evelyn Nuñez, Lou Rodriguez and Carolina Cabrera DiGiorgio.
The timing of the call for geniuses, while unfortunate amid the coronavirus pandemic, also meant that a lot of the first people honored with the title were frontline workers like nurses, doctors and scientists.
They were honored via the age-old art of a portraiture, which Markman said was once reserved for royalty and the wealthy, not the geniuses we encounter on a daily basis.
The form was further thrown on its head through the incorporation of Henri, a pen plotter programmed to draw portraits.
Those portraits are then showcased in Gallery X — a custom virtual space created specifically for Everyday Genius — with a user experience very similar to navigating a virtual world in a video game.
The world of Everyday Genius is a three-room museum with Henri’s portraits lining the walls. Virtual visitors control their field of view with their mouse and move around the virtual space using either their keyboard’s arrow keys or the ‘WASD’ keys. It is also mobile-friendly.
Visitors are welcome to the gallery until Oct. 29 through the Da Vinci Fest Live website.