“Imagine going to an art gallery and a painting catches your eye. You walk towards her. Then you realize that the paint is changing second by second. Justin Higgins explains the 24 hour homepage, a digital project that has been eating away at his thoughts since its launch in February. “Every 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 stand by that thing forever.
Visitors to the website 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’ll see him again in 24 hours. Everyday. Always. If you see something you like, click on it and you’ll go to the contributor’s site. The project is complete when the 86,400 seconds of the day are released.
Justin Higgins: software developer turned contemporary artist
Higgins doesn’t 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-scale projects. He was one of the first Beats Music engineers before Spotify was in the US. After Apple acquired his company, he began to branch out and work on other big ideas, including a Microsoft-acquired company and a political text messaging service. If you’ve received a text message from a politician in 2020, you’ve probably seen their work.
Higgins thrives on the creative synergy of software development. He says, “I like the process. I like people. I love taking an idea from mental cloud to code cloud. What inspired 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 boundaries of his comfort zone. After leaving Apple, he dabbled in several solo engineering projects.
He had high hopes for Selfless, his resource-sharing mobile app, but after several years he admitted defeat and shut down the app.
Afterwards, Higgins realized his mistakes. Convinced that his product’s network would grow organically, he had completely ignored marketing. “I learned a lot about building and running a small business on my own,” says Higgins. “But the most important thing I learned was that I’m an internet introvert. I wasn’t doing much to publicize the product.
This failure helped inspire the 24-hour homepage. Higgins’ project is part contemporary art, part social experience, and part self-discovery. “I wanted something that would force me to work on what I feel like an uncomfortable skill,” 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 networked. “I reached out to content creators — anyone who I think tells a unique story,” he says. “They’re my most valuable clients. These people were like, ‘Yeah, I love it! Let me think about something. When you have so many creative people filling 86,400 seconds, there’s so much opportunity for this that the global 24-hour movie can become.
One of Higgins’ most exciting wins has been a collaboration with Vinyl Moon, a monthly music subscription club. “They source the music from all over the world and then they find an artist to do all the branding and creative packaging,” he says.
A long-time subscriber, Higgins decided that Vinyl Moon would be perfect for the 24-hour homepage. He emailed customer support, and after several months, he pitched his idea to the CEO of the company. business. “I can’t tell you too much about their contribution,” he remarks. “I 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 going to be amazing.
As the project grows, more and more seconds of the day are organically taken up with people Higgins has never met. One of his favorite contributions was a simple poem written in Spanish. “According to Google Translate, my Spanish isn’t very good…” he says, “it’s a love letter to the future. It’s a heartfelt message in a bottle.
24 hour homepage is an art 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. “For example, you can talk to business people or entrepreneurs on Reddit who don’t understand. They think about the project in terms of traditional advertising and audience on the site now. But then you talk to an artist or a creative person, and it clicks. They view the project as an artifact of the Internet.
The story of the project is a continuous journey. Higgins reached out to marketers early on and publicly documented the entire experience. He records his thoughts and the reactions of his followers since the launch of the site. “It’s something I’m directing to the future,” 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 complete 24-hour work of art. I’m invested in making this the best 24-hour “movie” experience on the internet.
To learn more about the artist, readers can visit 24HourHomepage.com and follow him on Twitter. https://twitter.com/justinprojects
Posted on December 5, 2021