Forever 21 has unveiled what it calls the F21 Thread Screen. It’s a 2,000-pound contraption that can display any Instagram photo using 6,400 mechanical spools of thread.
This unique device for viewing photos took a whopping 1.5 years to build, thanks in part to the fact that it contains over 200,000 separate parts — more than 8 times what you’d find in an average car. The finished F21 Thread Screen measures 11 feet high, 9 feet wide and 3 feet deep.
Here’s how the system works: each of the 6,400 spools in the machine has a 5 1/2-foot-long piece of thread that’s made up of 36 different colors (there’s a new color ever 1 3/4 inches).
The screen has 80×80 “pixels” in resolution, so for each photo, each thread’s individual motor rotates the fabric until the correct color is displayed on the spool. Voila! An Instagram photo appears.
Here’s a 2-minute-long behind-the-scenes video showing the project:
Built in partnership with the creative NY-based agency BREAKFAST, the new one-of-a-kind screen will be displaying Instagram photos that are hashtagged with #F21ThreadScreen, and you can observe it through this live stream:
This project and live stream will be running 24/7 through July 28th, 2015. You can also find the live stream of photos heading into the machine on the F21 Thread Screen website.
Last year Old Navy created a similar contraption for displaying tagged Instagram photos, but that one only displayed halftone photos using a grid of ~1,000 balloons.