Posts tagged with "Paola Antonelli":

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Paola Antonelli’s upcoming Milan Triennale urges designers to tackle climate change

Next year’s XXII Triennale di Milano couldn’t come at a better time. Curated by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s Paola Antonelli, the exhibition focuses on the one-of-a-kind ways designers are tackling one of the world’s biggest contemporary problems: climate change. Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival introduces the concept of restorative design and analyzes how humans interact with the natural environment. “A healthy concern for the future of our planet and of our species should come as no surprise," said Antonelli in a statement, "and yet the Broken Nature team feels thankful for the eager and consistent restorative design that is at the core of [this event]...It allows us to keep believing in the power of design to help citizens understand complexity, assess risks, adapt behaviors, and demand change.” Running from March 1 to September 1, 2019, the international showcase will bring together thought-provoking commissions from around the world that sit at the intersection of art, industry, and politics. Special projects will be on view by Formafantasma, Sigil Collective, as well as Neri Oxman and the MIT-based Mediated Matter Group, among others. Scientist Stefano Mancuso will present the immersive exhibition, The Nation of Plants, which will explore the role of botany in helping to solve the world’s vast ecological issues.  It was recently announced that Italian architect Stefano Boeri will lead the global event as its new president. He aims to reinstitute the traditional roots of the 85-year-old Milan Triennale as a collaborative design event that centers on modern day issues. The 2016 event, which was the first Triennale held after a 20-year hiatus, didn’t follow the former format that encouraged such widespread cross-disciplinary collaboration. The Architect’s Newspaper spoke with Antonelli about what it means now that the Triennale is back, and why next year’s thematic exhibition is particularly pertinent for cities in Italy and beyond: AN: Broken Nature is a total revamp of the 2016 Milan Triennale. Can you talk about the ways in which the 2019 event will be different? Paola Antonelli: Hopefully it will exist in the same vein of the ones that happened over 20 years ago. The 2016 event was a loose collection of design innovations while the Triennales held before the 21st century very much connected to what was happening in the world. That’s how I think about Broken Nature. We’re creating the opportunity for architects and designers to participate in a dialogue and contribute to the world’s most urgent crisis: the future of the environment. What makes it different is its attempt to connect a network of efforts. Very often you have these events where the curators know each other, but they make something new and original individually. I believe in originality, of course, but I also believe in collaboration. If we’re talking about emergency as the central focus, we might as well join forces. I would like Broken Nature to become not an umbrella, but an embrace for all these efforts, and for curators to complement each others’ efforts. With this theme of climate change and protecting the environment, we have to join forces in order to be taken seriously. What was the inspiration behind giving science as much of a platform as design? PA: I began this exploration 10 years ago with the MoMA exhibition, Design and the Elastic Mind. We put designers and scientists in conversation to discuss recent changes in tech, science, and social habits, and how people can deal with those changes through thoughtful design. The idea for Broken Nature was birthed in 2013 as a proposal for another exhibition at MoMA that didn’t work out. It never left my mind, because soon after that, new solutions and ways to address change emerged out of this growing urgency to save ourselves and the earth from major environmental threats. For the Milan Triennale, we’re not gathering curators to put together new works necessarily. The National Bureau of Expositions will handle organizing the various pavilions by other countries. I am curating part of the exhibition myself, and we’re asking designers worldwide to share projects that they’ve already been working on for some time. We’re looking for eco-visionaries who have already helped start a dialogue on restorative design and how humans can better connect with nature.
 
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What role has public engagement played in the process of putting together this event? PA: We’ve done public symposia on Broken Nature already, which has helped not only spread awareness but organize our ideas and prepare content. Some of our contributors have already written essays about their projects, which we’ll use toward a book later that sums up our learnings. The symposia have also helped us test out a few ideas to see if they will work out on the national stage. What else should we know going into next year’s 7-month-long triennale? PA: Overall, we’re hoping people will be puzzled and inspired by the exhibition, but we do have three main desired outcomes for it. First, we’re doing this not only for the architecture and design community but for the Milanese citizens because we know they’re interested in design. We’re looking to them as the agent of change to exercise pressure on institutions and change behaviors. We hope citizens will come to the show and leave with a short-term sense of what they can do in their everyday lives to be restorative. Second, we want people to leave the building knowing we live in a complex world, so our actions need to be thoughtful as we move forward in interacting with nature. Third, we want people to have a long-term vision. We tend to always think of our children and our children’s children when it comes to caring for the earth. But beyond that into the third generation of humans, it’s hard to psychologically imagine what it will be like. We hope the exhibition will help people put the far-out future into perspective. Leading the curatorial effort alongside Antonelli for XXII Triennale di Milano are Ala Tannir, Laura Maeran, and Azzurra Muzzonigro. Laura Agnesi will act as lead coordinator for the event, while Marco Sammicheli will handle international relations.
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MoMA has acquired the original 176 emojis

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York announced today that it has acquired the original 176-character set of emojis for their permanent collection. The original "12 x 12 pixel humble masterpieces," as MoMA called them in their Medium post, were developed by NTT DOCOMO under the supervision of  Shigetaka Kurita. The original set was released to cell phones in 1999. This set off the beginning of an entirely new language that would eventually become ubiquitous in mobile messaging. MoMA credits the new language with altering the way we communicate. "The design of a chair dictates our posture; so, too, does the format of electronic communication shape our voice." The institution gained notoriety for these cheeky acquisitions when they got the "@" symbol and a set of seminal video games, all of which is a 21st-century continuation of curator Paola Antonelli's famous Humble Masterpieces show from 2003 that set off a decade-plus exploration of the beautiful in everyday objects. That show, which displayed everything from band-aids to light bulbs under plexiglass, even made references to Philip Johnson's original Machine Art show by including the ball bearings that were one of the first acquisitions by MoMA in 1934. As for emojis, this set was seminal in the history of telecommunications. The 176 emoji (picture characters) became an instant hit and were copied by rival companies in Japan. When Apple released the updated, unicode version for iPhone in 2011, they became the new form of communication we know today. Paul Galloway, MoMA architecture & design collection specialist, said that "This acquisition was the work of many people both at MoMA and at NTT DOCOMO. First and foremost I must thank the indefatigable Paola Antonelli, our fearless advocate for expanding an appreciation of the field of design to new realms, who initiated this project. I also thank our Chief Curator, Martino Stierli, A&D Curatorial Assistant Michelle Fisher, Alexis Sandler of the MoMA General Counsel office, and Betty Fisher in the Exhibition Design department. And I commend and send thanks to NTT DOCOMO’s large team, who exhibited tremendous patience, flexibility, and an adventurous spirit well in keeping with their company’s great heritage."
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On View> MoMA’s Applied Design Exhibition Tackles Video Games and 3D Printing

In MoMA's Applied Design exhibition, which opened over the weekend in The Phillip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries, celebrity curator Paola Antonelli brings us a diverse sampling of recent and contemporary design, from old school video games like Tetris and Pac-Man to 3D printed furniture and energy efficient medical equipment. As in last year’s Talk to Me exhibition, museum guests get the opportunity to interact with the objects on display, including playing the video games. While the connections between the different pieces may be tenuous and visitors may struggle to identify the relationship between Ido Bruno’s Earthquake Proof Table and The Sims, Applied Design allows viewer to see items that have been churning up quite a bit of hype around the blogosphere, such as Massoud Hassani’s wind-powered mine detonator, pairing them with modern relics from the MoMA archives, including drawings from Lebbeus Woods and Douglas Darden. While disjointed, Applied Design does afford a glimpse of the wide varieties of methods, technologies, and materials utilized by today’s design vanguard. The exhibition is on view through January 14, 2014.
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SHFT+ ALT+ DEL: November 16, 2012, Extreme Accolades Edition

'Tis the season for bestowing "Best Ofs", and this edition of SHFT+ALT+DEL includes some of the recent laurels laid upon architects and designers by business and consumer press... Zaha Hadid is named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year for 2012. (Glamour seems to have latched onto Condé Nast sibling The New Yorker calling Hadid "The Lady Gaga of Architecture...") Across the pond, David Adjaye is at the tippy-top of the 2013 Power List, ranked number one in the annual publication's list of the most influential black people of the UK. This year's Pritzker Prize winner, Wang Shugets tapped as 2012 Innovator of the Year in Architecture by The Wall Street Journal. South of the border, GQ Mexico named Esteban Suarez of BNKR Arquitectura, pronounced Bunker, Architect of the Year. Congratulations to them all! Meanwhile, back in the salt mines... Kieran Long, architecture critic for The Evening Standard and assistant curator for the 2012 Venice Biennale, takes up the post of Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital at the V&A museum in London. Paola Antonelli, MoMA's Senior Curator of Architecture and Design, was appointed Director of Research and Development in October. Her mission: "provide the Museum with information and critical tools to evaluate new initiatives and identify new directions and unexplored opportunities, particularly in the digital realm." The indefatigable Antonelli will divide her time between her previous curatorial role and the new position. Have news on movers and shakers in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to people@archpaper.com!
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Paola Antonelli Named Director of Research & Development at MoMA

The MoMA’s Senior Art Curator of Architecture and Design, Paola Antonelli, was named Director of Research & Development this week by the museum’s Director Glenn D. Lowry. This new role is a mix of curatorial, design, and research, and was created as part of an effort to discover new prospects in the rapidly developing digital world. Antonelli will continue her work as senior curator, which began with the MoMA in 1994. In her new position she will work to strengthen the relationship between different museum departments so that research can flow freely to respond to specific questions concerning digital endeavors. She will also examine cultural shifts and progress and present her research to various departments keeping MoMA at the front of digital and cultural research. The incentive is to propose “new ideas about the way culture, and museums in particular, live, operate and are experienced online and in person,” Lowry said in a statement.
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A Terreformed Summer

Last week at the Phaidon Bookstore in Soho, White Box held a benefit for their new sustainable art garden by organizing a panel discussion called "Sustainable Work Lab: new projects in art, architecture and urban design." Ali Hossaini moderated the discussion between landscape designer Frances Levine, architect David Turnbull, and urban designer Maria Aiolova. Hossaini yielded to Turnbull's freewheeling conversation about Socratic love, i.e. the coupling of poverty and invention. Inspired by his fresh-off-the-plane-from-Kenya presentation, the crowd indulged in the philosophical debate. Turnbull balked at biennials and instead encouraged artists "to make artifacts that are useful and have that magical quality that keep them from being thrown away."  "Sustainability should be the bare minimum," concurred Aiolova. She should know. Her firm, Terreform1, held a sustainability love fest all summer long, which culminated in winning the Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award on August 17. Aiolova said that impetus for entering the Design for the Real World competition came after she and partner Mitchell Joachim were approached by Ron Labaco of the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Though Aiolova was unaware of any financial aspect of the award, she seemed more interested in the conference to be held at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in the fall, where Paola Antonelli will be the keynote speaker and the winning work will be exhibited. The exhibition will come to New York at MAD in the spring 2012, sponsored in part by the Austrian Culture Forum New York. There, the group will discuss "Urbaneering Brooklyn" at a symposium on social design.  The model takes a look at downtown Brooklyn one hundred years in the future, a place where all necessities—food, water, and energy—are provided from within the area's boundaries. "We are projecting what the technologies are going to be to achieve the state of self reliance." For her presentation at Phaidon, Aiolova revisited the more practical aspects of some smaller scale projects, like the group's Fab Tree Hab designs, which combine a natural scaffolding made of vines with fully grown trees that are grafted to act as a support structure and columns.  Aiolova acknowledged that the design may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for the client who wants to live off the grid, literally at one with nature, the Fab Tree Hab might hold the answer.  What about the time it takes to grow the house?  "It takes three to nine years for a good bottle of scotch," she said. Back at the studio, Terreform had just completed ONE Lab: Biodesign, a summertime boot-camp where architects, scientists, and artists met to explore design with living matter:  
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Antonelli Talks To Me: Upcoming Design Show at MoMA

Senior curator in MoMA’s department of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli is also a verb. She said so herself in describing her approach to curating, in general, and particularly preparing for her upcoming summer show, Talk to Me, opening on July 24. “Emilio Ambasz once said there were different categories of curators and one is “to hunt and gather” and I definitely fall into that one, always hunting and gathering to bring back design to nurture you,” Antonelli said in an interview at her MoMA office, a glamorous perch with a sculpted felt wall and a bean bag chair to keep visitors off their toes and on their asses.

The curator described how Talk to Me would show how performance, communication, and interaction are supplanting function as the main job of design. And while we are accustomed to the many metaphorical ways that things speak to us—say, a treasured knick-knack—increasingly, they literally talk as part of their job, complete with conversational ticks. A radio, for instance, might sneeze to clear dust from its speaker. “The new generation expects things to comment about everything,” Antonelli said. “Little kids tap on t.v. screens expecting them to respond.”

In this gabfest, everything’s talking at you, from a wi fi diving rod by British designer Mike Thompson and artist Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots that roam the streets depending on the kindness of strangers to read their destination on a flag and point them in the right direction to appliances that announce their energy use to a low-cost eye-tracking system being developed through open-sourcing to help the paralyzed write with the movement of their eyeballs. It’s a round-up of unusual suspects. And as we have come to expect from Antonelli and her team, including curatorial assistant Kate Carmody, it will round up the silly and the sensational, the polemical and provocative (a machine showing transsexuals how to menstruate, including a dance video), the comfortingly obvious (Metro Card machines) and the always breathtaking (BIX, the display skin of the Kunsthaus in Graz by architects Peter Cook, Colin Fournier, and their Spacelab team.)

Interaction of all sorts, according to Antonelli, depends on design, and to get the message across, designers write the scripts. “I may be putting words in their mouths, but that’s my job,” she said gamely, confessing that talking interfaces and machines communicating has been a long obsession dating back to Max Headroom, the fake A.I. puppet and mascot of the cyberpunk movement of the 1980s.

But don’t take my word for it. Talk to Me MoMA already has a blog dedicated to tracing the steps, sources, and research going into the show. Antonelli wants to hear from you, too.

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The Makers of the Design Canon

You probably would not expect to find the ubiquitous "@" symbol in the same category as the Olivetti portable typewriter, the Saarinen tulip chair, or the Pininfarina Cisitalia 202 GT car. But on Saturday at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, persuasively argued for its inclusion in MoMA’s famed design collection alongside the items described above. Within the very small world of museum architecture and design curators the AIC’s symposium, “Modern Construction: Creating Architecture and Design Collection” assembled a blue-chip group to discuss acquisition methodologies, philosophies, and approaches. In addition to Antonelli, speakers included Ingeborg de Roode, Curator of Industrial Design, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Frederic Migayrou, Deputy Director, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Centre de Creation Industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou; and Mirko Zardini, Director, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. AIC’s Joseph Rosa, John H. Bryan Curatorial Chair of Architecture and Design, and Zoe Ryan, its Neville Bryan Curator of Design, completed the roster. Each offered a history and overview of his or her collection, collecting principles and acquisition strategies. Any discussion of architecture in the museum arena has to start from the central idea that a museum can’t really “collect” architecture. As Rosa explained in his introductory remarks, museum architecture departments have traditionally acquired drawings, models, photographs and fragments relating to buildings. But that’s changing. Over the course of his career, Migayrou has built two large architecture collections, practically from scratch: first for the FRAC Orleans, and later for the Pompidou, and seems to have had a swell time doing so. He breathlessly ripped through scores of images of items he had acquired at both institutions, which validated his belief in niche collecting. By originally focusing on unbuilt projects of the post WWII era, he said he was able to obtain a lot of material “that MoMA didn’t want,” including such gems as le Corbusier’s original collage limning the familiar Modulor graphic and the two most iconic illustrations from Koolhaas’ Delirious New York. Beyond acquiring items in traditional formats, curators of contemporary work are grappling with issues related to digitization. In the architecture and design areas, more so than with “fine art,” it’s probably a more significant concern, because so much of the production increasingly exists in digital format. For CCA, this has meant making much of its traditional holdings--drawings, plans, correspondence and other ephemera--available online. Zardini said it’s an important new kind of presence, a different framework for institutions, and one that brings its own set of issues: when you select which items to make digitally available, you’re editing, making a collection within your collection. Antonelli also stressed the importance of embracing new media and formats. “Digital capabilities could free curators from the constraints of physical collecting,” she predicted. But it’s not without its challenges. In one instance, she wanted to acquire an early iteration of an e-mail graphic interface, but wondered what, precisely, to acquire.  The original (probably broken-down) computer where the program was created? The actual programming code? A new machine with the old graphic interface? Video of designers revising the code for the new machine? All of the above? “Everything,” she said, “goes into the big minestrone of progress.” Unlike architecture, design collection is generally a lot more straightforward, since many design objects are small and portable, and available to purchase outside of the high end auction houses. This has helped Ryan acquire an impressive group of objects by contemporary designers, although, having just started to build AIC’s collection over the last three years,  she said, “our work has just begun.” Her comment touched on one subject area that went more or less unexplored: what it all costs. This was an odd omission in a symposium about acquiring things.  Although Migayrou revealed in his presentation that he had gotten several of his holdings “at a good price,”  it was just about the only time anybody addressed the issue of money. This attendee would have enjoyed hearing the curators talk about how private collectors are competing with museums for the best items, and how the general economic malaise has affected acquisition funding--thorny problems for everyone in the museum community.

Eavesdrop NY 13

  COOPER SCOOPER Eavesdrop held a glass to the emergency-exit door of the Cooper-Hewitt and heard rumblings that a ten-member, Smithsonian-led committee was about to announce a new museum director to succeed Paul Warwick Thompson. It sounded as if the committee was down to two candidates—Paola Antonelli and Aaron Betsky. The latter volunteered to a source that he was not in the running, but we think he was merely trying to throw us off the scent. Our olfactory sense is too highly tuned to be distracted. Expect an announcement any minute. BLIND ITEM! What tony architecture firm with a lot of empty desks is using ModelBartenders.com to staff the house for an upcoming interview? Imagine. The prospective client tours the studio, which is stocked with 25-year-old hunks pretending to detail porticoes and dormers, and wonders how they make time to go to the gym. Eavesdrop is fighting the urge to send a disco ball to go with the human props.