CG: MoMA Presents Talk to Me: Design... between People and Objects (City Guide Magazine)


CG: MoMA Presents Talk to Me: Design... between People and Objects

July 12, 2011 - by NYC News Desk


The Museum of Modern Art presents Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects from July 24 to November 7, 2011. With nearly 200 projects ranging from the micro­scopic to the cosmic and all designed in the past few years or currently under development, the exhibition explores design's new terrain: enhancing communicative possibilities, embodying a new balance between technology and people, and bringing technological break­throughs to an approachable, human scale. These projects include interfaces, websites, video games, tools, charts, and information systems on topics global and local, public and personal. The exhibition is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Kate Carmody, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Whether openly and actively or in subtle, emotional, or subliminal ways, objects talk to people. As the purpose of design has, in past decades, shifted away from mere utility toward meaning and communication, objects that were once charged only with being elegant and functional now need to have personalities. Thanks to digital technology, these objects even have the tools to communicate through their interfaces, adding a new interactive dimension. Contemporary designers, in addition to giving objects form, function, and meaning, now write the initial scripts that are the foundations for these useful and satisfying conversations.

Talk to Me highlights the groundbreaking ways in which objects help users interact with complex systems and networks. It focuses on objects and concepts that involve direct interaction, such as interfaces for ATMs, check-in kiosks, and emergency dispatch centers; visualization designs that render visible complex data about people, cities, and nations; communication devices and other products that translate and deliver information; expressive and talkative objects; and projects that establish a practical, emotional, or even sensual connection between their users and entities such as cities, companies, governmental institutions-as well as other people. The exhibition is loosely divided into six sections, according to who or what is doing the talking, from objects to other people, the city, and even life.

Greeting visitors at the entrance to the exhibition is Yann Le Coroller's Talking Carl (2010), an iPhone and iPad app in which a box-shaped creature responds to sound and touch, gets ticklish and jumpy, and repeats what visitors say in a high-pitched voice. Other interactive features in the exhibition include a working NYC MetroCard Vending Machine (1999), designed by Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger of Antenna Design, and David Reinfurt, Kathleen Holman, and MTA New York City Transit, and manufactured for MTA New York City by Cubic Transportation Systems, with special Talk to Me MetroCards available for purchase; Kacie Kinzer's Tweenbots (2009), little robots that will roam the Museum asking visitors for help crossing galleries; and Tentacles (2009), a multiplayer video game created by Michael Longford (Mobile Media Lab, York University, Canada), Geoffrey Shea (Mobile Experience Lab, Ontario College of Art and Design), and Rob King (Canadian Film Centre Media Lab) that visitors will be able to engage with on a giant screen.


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