Posted: August 29th, 2013
MoMA Exhibition Analysis
Art has always been used to communicate certain messages or themes to the audience. They are meant to be self-explanatory. However, the traditional art has never been interactive with the audience. Impressively, this has changed with the modern art. Artists are trying their best to make art and architecture as interactive with the audience as it can. Technology, the use of color, spacing and other objects have been incorporated in different designs in order to make the experiences more interactive with the audience rather than just being visuals. The recent art exhibition in MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) dabbed “Talk to Me” greatly brought out the above explained concepts. The use of technology, colors and other objects portrayed the exhibition engages interaction between the models and the audience.
In the exhibition, monitors displaying scrolling websites, which also acted as social spaces were evident in one corner. Another screen, which was augmented, portrayed reality technology. In other parts of the exhibition, there were hangings of architectural elements on the wall. These architectural elements made up modular robotic elements and a giant QR code which settled like animals which were asleep in cases that were transparent.
The display colors used in the exhibition was extremely visible. The use of bright orange colors instead of the usual white color was the most evident. There was the visual playground that comprised of bright orange display units. The units were full of sculptures and models. This bright orange color served as a device to attract the audience. This portrayed the “welcoming” look to the audience at the exhibition.
The whole display setting brought the theme ‘Talk to Me’ come to life. They had a two-sided relation with the people. They gave feedback to the people as the people made their input into the models. They brought life to the experience for both the audience and the models themselves. The senior curator of design and architecture at MoMa, Paola Antonelli focused on interaction, not only between the audiences, but also between the people and the exhibits. Whether it was through the social space monitors and screens or the responsive models, the room was full of life and new experiences. It was not about just viewing, it was also about interaction.
There is a major difference between the display exhibition today and that in the past. In the past, it was about seeing how the design works and how they can be relevant in a real life situation. The main interaction was evident among the audience themselves or between the audience and the facilitators of certain designs. The computerized explanations may have been used to the minimal as there would be needed a facilitator to do the actual talking and further explaining.
The display colors were mostly white, which is a rather peaceful color and does not reflect a lot of attention as compared to such a warm color as orange. In this exhibition, the orange color is striking and provokes joy in the rooms. It also plays down the seriousness and the quietness that may come with galleries and exhibitions. In case of younger audiences, it is no longer the boring place to view models that they know little about, but a place to learn new and interesting things.
The combination of striking colors and technology creates the interactive atmosphere required. Some of the models set in place are self explanatory and have a ‘voice’ that allows interaction between the audience and the models without the necessary interruption of a facilitator. The need for designs to be self-explanatory and lively in the exhibition centers has been made possible today by the use of colors that are striking rather than the usual cool and neutral colors, and the use of such technology as screens, monitors and computers which act as social sites.
Tony Quan, a graffiti artist, also referred to as TEMPT1, lost the function of all his limbs and other body parts when he contracted a fatal disease known as amyotropic lateral sclerosis. The disease causes one to get paralyzed. The only functional body part was his eyes. As a result, a group Graffiti Research Lab in collaboration with other art and technology organizations tried to come up with a device that could still enable him to continue working even with his condition. This is how the EyeWriter came into being. The device works by tracking eye movements which are relayed to a laptop wirelessly through the assistance of special software. The laptop is placed near the wall the output is to be tagged. With the connection of a laser-tagging kit to the laptop, graffiti is painted on the wall. The appearance includes different colors and shapes as intended by the artist. This is despite the fact that the artist might be miles away as in Mr. Quan’s situation. The eye tracker is usually fitted on eyeglasses. This EyeWriter was present in this MoMA exhibition.
This technology shows that communication has also taken over the design field. The device enables the artist and the design to interact even at what seemed like an impossible situation. Some designs were only known to be functional and elegant in the traditional art. This has now changed. They seem to comprise a personality as evident in the Tweenbot Robot designed and built by Kacie Kinzer. The design, which was simply built out of cardboard, was seen a couple of times in the streets of New York and was also present at the exhibition. The Tweenbot has a long flag that indicates its destination. The bystanders adjust the position of the robot so that it can stay on its path and therefore, reach its destination.
Kinzer said that she made this design so that she could engage the people. She wanted them to get move their focus from their normal duties and responsibilities and be playful for and excited for a while. Such empathetic characters, known to be fancy and functional, have now changed and become part of the people. Antonelli agreed that the culture in the 21st century is characterized by communication. The people in the art and architecture field are working hard to make this culture part of the designs.
In the 20th century, it was all about form following function. It later came to the post-structuralism period. Currently, it is all about communication and technology being used to the utmost advantage. As earlier pointed, the main idea of today’s technology is to enable designs that were once silent to communicate with people. A design by the name Botanicalls made in the year 2006 by students from NYU portrays house plants as talking species. The device works by using moisture sensors which are in the plant’s soil. The sensors send messages which are read or tweeted and then made in a recording thus communicating that they need water. This shows a major difference in the traditional and the current designs. The main difference is that while traditional designs were simply made to be functional and serve a particular purpose, today’s designs are meant to interact, show a personality and be exciting as much as they are functional.
As MoMA’s ‘Talk to Me’ exhibition proved, exhibitions and designs can be interactive with the people and not just be functional as they used to be in the past. Interaction between the models in an exhibition and the audience is significant as it portrays the models’ interaction even outside the exhibition. The MoMA exhibition revolutionized the art world as it confirmed that color and technology can be used to bring life and excitement in an environment as well as encourage communication through interaction.
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