Posted by: sarahmeyers | February 21, 2008

Design and the Elastic Mind at Moma NYC

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(In a cab leaving the MoMa at Columbus Circle on 59th St at the corner of Central Park)

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan for the press screening of the new exhibit that’s opening on February 24th called Design and the Elastic Mind. It started at 10am with refreshments, treats and with the press. I noticed Forbes and a local TV station was there, but I was definitely the only videographer that didn’t have a 30lb camera and a microphone. I have a lot of video coming next week of the exhibition that took place on the sixth floor of the MoMa in New York.

Technology has changed society throughout history as we find new ways to communicate and exchange information. “People isolate themselves in the middle of crowds within individual bubbles of technology—a development Ms. Antonelli calls Existenzmaximum—or
sit alone at computers to tune into communities of like-minded souls or to access information about esoteric topics.” The choice of design was curated for an open source audience. I brought my camera and tried to interview everyone.

I did interview three designers about their work and the exhibition that shows the relationship between design, science and innovation. Design and the Elastic Mind has a name that sort of says what it is; everything is there. They have robots to boot! Here are some examples of what you can expect to see there:

Twittervision and Flickrvision by Dave Troy are part of the exhibition. Dave Troy must be proud. He writes on his blog, “It’s pretty exciting; I never suspected my locking myself in a room and coding would lead to this sort of thing!” I like twitter vision and flickrvision because I entertained for hours there. It makes me feel like I’m in outer space looking down on the world, watching different people’s thoughts and seeing what they are doing at the same moment in time.
History Flow by Fernanda Bertini Viégas, Martin Wattenberg and IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center presents visualizations of the flow of editing that takes place on all Wikipedia entries. Taking advantage of Wikipedia’s free access to the complex layers of every entry’s contributing history, History Flow maps the entire sequence of versions of the same entry, providing a chronicle of a not always harmonious collaborative process. The examples shown in the exhibition refer to the history of a highly controversial entry—abortion—and of a very popular one—chocolate—as of 2003. Each color corresponds to a different contributor. Each vertical line, called a “revision line,” corresponds to the beginning of changed or updated text, while a line’s length indicates the length of the text. The immediate visual reading of this flow can render with relative precision the level of debate and controversy surrounding a topic. A deeper reading using various parameters, such as time, can push the analysis further, into surprising detail.
(Watch this video on
Babel Blocks, by Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym of Boym Partners Inc., is a collection of wooden figures that represent New York City’s cultural and religious diversity, sending out a message of tolerance and understanding. The first collection is devoted to
New York’s Lower East Side, where the Boyms reside, and each character has a name and a MySpace page.

From their press release: “Web mashups are applications that combine different sources into a single platform, making them one face of collaborative design on the Web. Examples using Google Maps are perhaps the most well known, complete with the familiar red markers—defined as pushpins, upside-down teardrops, or even apostrophes—that people use to tag their maps and share their world, their passions, and their knowledge. In other cases, mashups may be coordinated by public authorities and used to spread practical information about subjects ranging from crime rates to sex offenders’ domiciles. A selection of Google Maps
and other mashups will be seen on monitors in the exhibition.

Over the past several years, with the rise of blogging, social networks, and online dating, there has been proliferation of human self-expression. This has led to the creation of countless online personas. I Want You To Want Me, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar is an exploration of the search for self and new relationships as expressed in a digital world. Harris and Kamvar search the Internet looking for the most delicate and personal human feelings and behaviors. In this exploration of Web dating, a new project developed for this exhibition, each balloon represents a single person’s dating profile collected from the Internet. Inside each balloon is a video silhouette of one person looking for somebody else. The balloons fly through the sky, and visitors can touch any balloon to open it and see text snippets from that person’s dating profile. Many other commands and degrees of interaction with the interface will allow the viewer to perfect and complete each screen, and each screen is only one of the many possible ways to look at the complexity and delicacy with which people interact online.”

By far the best interview of all the designers was the one I got was “I Want You To Want Me” by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar. It’s a cool art display of people who are looking for dates online. I asked them if the integrated as a place to pull information. They said they couldn’t remember where they pulled the information. The only website they could remember is pulling from I found this a bit amusing. Overall it’s an intriguing exhibition to tech lovers like me and interesting to the non-technical person. If you can make the MoMa Exhibition I recommend checking this one out.

Design and the Elastic Mind
February 24th-May 12, 2008
The International Council of the Museum of Modern Art Gallery, sixth floor.

Are you going?



  1. […] added an interesting post today on Design and the Elastic Mind at Moma NYCHere’s a small reading […]

  2. If I lived in New York I would go. Does the exhibition travel to different states or stay in New York?

  3. This sounds awesome, but I wish I was there to see it. I can imagine this from my computer screen, but to think of it as an art instillation is kinda tough. Looking forward to seeing your video.

  4. SFMOMA: Ends Sunday
    Widely heralded as one of the most important artists of his generation, Olafur Eliasson nimbly merges art, science, and natural phenomena to create extraordinary multisensory experiences. Challenging the passive nature of traditional art-viewing, he engages the observer as an active participant, using tangible elements such as temperature, moisture, aroma, and light to generate physical sensations. The works assembled for this presentation — the first U.S. survey of this Icelandic artist’s oeuvre — date from 1993 to the present and reflect all facets of his creative practice. Encompassing sculpture, photography, and large-scale immersive installations — including a newly commissioned kaleidoscopic tunnel that envelops the Museum’s steel truss bridge — these groundbreaking projects are intentionally simple in construction but thrilling to behold, sparking profound, visceral reactions designed to heighten one’s experience of the everyday.
    If you are in San Francisco this weekend, I is a must!

  5. Cool art exhibit…

  6. Hi – my name is Shay Fodor from TripTouch. If you want an example for a mashup, check It’s a new travel home page for people on the go – with information, services, trip management and community all in one easy to use widget based page. The content is aggregated from world-wide and local content providers so you’ll get the best content wherever you are in the world.

    Here’s the link –

  7. does this exibition also travel, not only zu San Francisco but also to Germany?
    lg lilli holm

  8. I just hope everyone finds good in their lives.

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