It’s a good thing that I have a couple of trips to New York City planned for later this Spring, because what looks like a can’t-miss exhibition has just opened at the Museum of Modern Art: Design and the Elastic Mind.
Over the past twenty-five years, people have weathered dramatic changes in their experience of time, space, matter, and identity. Individuals cope daily with a multitude of changes in scale and pace working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, and being inundated with information. Adaptability is an ancestral distinction of intelligence, but today’s instant variations in rhythm call for something stronger: elasticity, the product of adaptability plus acceleration. Design and the Elastic Mind explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world by bringing together design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations. The exhibition highlights designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history — changes that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior –and translate them into objects that people can actually understand and use. This Web site presents over three hundred of these works, including fifty projects that are not featured in the gallery exhibition.
The science/art theme is as old and as timeless as Aristotle, but that alone wouldn’t draw me in. Rather, I like the explicit appeals to the intersection of the material and the conceptual and to the sociability, spatiality, and aesthetic object-ness of technology.
Philosophical musings aside, the whole thing looks like a lot of fun. And the website alone is worth several hours of exploration.