Gallery: VIDEO: Inhabitat Interviews MoMA Curator Paola Antonelli About...

Like bees, bats help keep the flow of our ecosystem, pollinating plants and eating unwanted bugs. But in the city, people aren’t too keen on letting bats reside on their properties, which could essentially be harmful to the flow of the environment. Chris Woebken and Natalie Jeremijenko’s Bat Billboard provides a place for city bats to rest their…wings. What’s more, the screen on the surface of the billboard translates bat calls from within, comparing the sounds to archival call patterns, and giving these bats a “voice.” The project hopes to connect humans and bats, preserving their urban infrastructure, while disassociating them from that pesky Dracula guy.

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.

The Museum of Modern Art’s latest Talk to Me exhibition puts technology in the hot seat. The exhibition, put together by MoMA design curator Paola Antonelli, showcases cutting edge ‘interaction design’ with its diverse collection of machine-user interfaces, software and gadgets. The featured pieces range far and wide, from self-service JetBlue ticket kiosks to iPad app virtual cartoon characters to an adorable real-life cardboard robot. Antonelli joined MoMA’s staff as the Senior Curator in the Architecture and Design Department in 1994, curating a number of the museum’s groundbreaking exhibitions in furniture and design. Her method of treating design as art was the subject of her 2007 TED Talk, and we were recently given an extra dose of her insight as Antonelli treated us to a personal tour of Talk to Me. Watch the video above as Antonelli and our Editor-in-Chief, Jill Fehrenbacher, walk through the exhibit, discussing the role of technology in our day-to-day lives and its impact on social interaction and human society.

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  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.