For MoMA’s New Exhibition “Talk to Me,” They’d Like You to Talk to Them

A new MoMA show will focus on the communication between people and objects, as enabled by design. In that spirit, the curators have opened up their process to the public.

Braun Lectron System


If MoMA’s acquisition of that “@” had you, too, asking WTF? this bit of news may help you make sense of it. An upcoming design and architecture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art will be focused on design and communication, and a show without it would leave out everything from email to emoticons to Twitter.

The exhibition, entitled Talk to Me, will open next July, and will demonstrate how design enables all kinds of conversations, according to senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli. “It focuses on communication between people and objects,
and on how
designers write the initial script that lets people develop and
improvise the dialogue,” she says. “Whether openly and actively, or in subtle,
subliminal ways, things talk to us.”

Fittingly, the curators have launched a blog to support an ongoing dialogue about what such a show might entail, and they’re asking for contributions from designers, researchers, and students that fall into the realms of interfaces, information systems, visualization design, and communication
devices. The blog is already populated with all sorts of projects that may be potentially included, from that @ sign, to the Braun Lectron System (above), a teaching tool that helped students learn about circuitry and electronics, designed by Dieter Rams and Jurgen Greubel in 1967.


Antonelli is known for exhibitions like Design
and the Elastic Mind
that stretch far beyond the conventional
parameters of design. Opening up the curatorial process for documentation like this is, we hope, the first of many eyebrow-raising practices that will allow this show to change the way people interact with MoMA’s museum walls.

[Talk to Me]


About the author

Alissa is a design writer for publications like Fast Company, GOOD and Dwell who can most often be found in Los Angeles. She likes to walk, ride the bus, and eat gelato


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