VIDEO: Inhabitat Interviews MoMA Curator Paola Antonelli About ‘Talk to Me’

by , 09/01/11

Inhabitat: It seems in some way that this exhibit is sort of showcasing how design is moving away from designing objects and moving more and more into designing experiences. What kind of impact do you think this has on the world we live in and the element of sustainability?

Paola Antonelli: We have been living in more than one world for quite a while. Design has not been only our furniture or our cars, but also it’s been the interfaces of the websites that we live in, the interface of our email program. What’s happening right now is that the virtual world is only one of the possible extensions of traditional design. A formal design that is relatively new – it’s old but new – is critical design. Critical design is about commenting on the possible consequences of technology, even dystopian ones. And there’s a lot of examples of that in the exhibition because since these designers focus on crucial issues, they also focus a lot on communication.

Free Art Technology, Visualizing Lisbon's Traffic, Roly Poly, Design Incubation Center, GPS Tracking, Kristin O'Friel, Che-Wei Wang, Momo device, MIT Portugal CityMotion, OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS, Kacie Kinzer, Tweenbot, robot, bats, urban bats, Bat billboard, Chris Woebken, Natalie Jeremijenko, Pedro Miguel Cruz, Penousal Machado, Joao Bicker, The Ebeling Group, green design, eco design, sustainable design, MoMA, Paola Antonelli, Talk to Me, interactive technology, TEMPT1, Graffiti, Eyewriter,

All in all, I think that what we’re seeing today is designers becoming much more economical and sustainable – also about their own careers. It’s not possible anymore to build objects that people will throw away in just a short amount of time, because people think that one of the possible ways to be sustainable is to have a washing machine that lasts 15 years instead of three. So that’s one way to go. What happens there is that it means fewer appliances and fewer design opportunities for traditional forms of design. But there’s a whole world that is on the web. It’s a whole world that is about behaviors. There’s a whole world that is about interactions. There is this amazing infiltration of design in all the facets of our lives that goes well beyond the traditional furniture products and cars. I’m so happy about it because, as you’ve said, this is truly the moment to not only study, but also validate this form of design and give it some benchmarks by doing collective shows like this.

+ Talk to Me at MoMA

Video by Phelps Harmon



  1. Diane Pham September 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    Great interview. Love Paolo Antonelli - such an inspiration to creatives!
  2. Jill Fehrenbacher September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm
    Hey Dan- I don't Paola is saying that there is 'no impact' from disruptive innovation - just that there are positive and negative consequences and we just have to be open, as a society, to change, because it is going to happen, whether we like it or not. -Jill
  3. Mike Chino September 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm
    This looks like an amazing exhibit - I'm bummed I can't make it out to see it!
  4. dan mendes September 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm
    it's interesting how Paola find's no reservations in the increasing digital world and how it may affect human interactions and thoughts, to me everything affects everything, our views of products right now and how society works was greatly affected by the industrial revolution, why not the digital one?
  5. kestrel September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm
    Can't wait to check this out. I really enjoyed Paola's discussion on past and current relationships between "disruptive innovations"!
  6. Jessica Dailey September 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm
    Great interview! I love the pieces that Antonelli pulls out as examples in the exhibit -- the Tweenbot is so cute!
  7. Rebecca Paul September 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm
    Wow what an inspiring interview! I'm fascinated by the concepts being explored in this exhibit, and I cannot wait to go.
  8. Yuka Yoneda September 1, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Yet another awesome video. Completely unrelated, but love the outfit choice too.