You got to love it when designers embrace technology. Good things happen and fantastic, stimulating products can be the result (see Related Articles). A new exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Design and the Elastic Mind, collects over 300 projects, works, and objects from designers who have taken technology to a whole new level.
Divided into seven main categories (including the cute open source moniker, “All Together Now!,” and the clever quasi-anagram “Thinkering;” tinkering + scientific thinking), Design and the Elastic Mind could be a great inspirational source for expanding your own project design eye.
Within these seven main categories are a whole host of subcategories (e.g., Future Mores under the Design for Debate category). It is inside these subcategories that you can harvest some great projects.
For example, inside Future Mores there are eight electronic devices from the installation titled, “Accessories for Lonely Men” by American artist Noam Toran. The thrust of Toran’s project is aimed at alleviating “loneliness” by simulating the actions of a former lover. Who wouldn’t get all misty eyed by the “Sheet Thief” (an electronic device that rolls all of the bed sheets off of you during sleep) along with “Cold Feet” and “Heavy Breather.” Throw in the “Silhouette Light,” which casts a shadow of the recently departed significant other on a wall and you’re lovin’ technology.
Get under the “chameleon’s skin of the urban landscape” with Stamen Design’s Cassidy Curtis’ “Graffiti Archaeology” (from the Mapping subcategory of Visualization). It’s art in the wild and it has its own Web site.
Take your SMS text messages and display them anywhere with the “SMS Guerrilla Projector” (from XMX inside the All Together Now! category). Designed by the British artist collective, Troika, this projector is capable of displaying text messages in all public spaces including cinemas. Oh, yeah, just spend twenty bucks on a movie ticket, then have some techno-anarchist spew his inane text acronyms all over the ceiling—elastic mind meet elastic fist.
Finally, let Rover tell you what’s really on his mind with “LED Dog Tail Communicator” (ensconced in Responsive Design nestled under People and Objects). In this installation, Brits James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau strapped a persistence of view (POV) LED waving display to a dog’s tail. Unlike more conventional POV LED displays (read that as HUMAN), this canine copy forms different words based on the speed of the dog’s wagging tail. In other “words” (sic), at 55 wpm (ahem; that’s wags per minute) Pooch might exclaim “Walkies.” Oh, Barbara Woodhouse would be proud. Or, at 40 wpm, Fido can get a bit bossy with “I’d like my dinner.” No, nothing here about the “tail wags the dog,” nor is there any indication that a similar device can be strapped to the owner’s finger for “wagging” back to the now mouthy Mutt.
Spend an afternoon walking the digital halls of Design and the Elastic Mind and you too will be sowing the seeds of your own creative employment of technology. Just beware that you reap what you sow.