[the exhibition] focuses on designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, changes which will demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and convert them into objects and systems that people can actually understand and use.

This is a brief excerpt taken from the press release of Elastic Mind exhibition, running until the 12 th of May at MoMa, Museum of Modern Art, of New York .

It is impossible to show here all the works, that were selected by Paola Antonelli, the Italian senior curator in MoMa’s Department of Architecture and Design; maybe it is more useful to talk about the general trend of these projects. Our ability to adapt to the environment and our creativity in changing it in something else necessary to our dreams and needs: these are two typical features of men and women’s life in every time and place. But only an elastic mind can support and cope with the fast and multidimensional change of 21 st century, without losing its own identity.

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For this reason the challenge is constant: scientific and technological revolution can lead to faster and deeper changes, and contemporary men and women have not only to constantly find new change possibilities, but also to completely change those already known concepts and relations, such as space, time, information and individuality. With an elastic mind, of course. So, design has become a more and more important means of social mediation and promotion, because it provides tools to show how research is converted into every-day objects, useful for everyone everywhere.

In order to create the most creative and useful projects, these designers are influenced by nanotechnology, biology, cosmology, and geography. They don’t fear contrasts; on the contrary, they want to reconcile opposites because it could be the only way to solve the current ideological crisis.

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As the exhibition curator, Paola Antonelli, has successfully demonstrated, the great innovation is that the work teams are made up not only of designers, but also of many scientists and artists. But the common denominator is the research goal, as we can read in the exhibition catalogue preface: ” to facilitate as seamless a movement as possible from fast to slow , virtual to physical, cerebral to sensual, automatic to manual, dynamic to static, mass to niche, global to local, organic to inorganic, and proprietary to common”.

The exhibition (unlike the catalogue) is divided into different sections, and all kinds of contexts are available, from the most entertaining to the most specialized. It starts from the smallest scale, with a wide range of scientific and aesthetic experiments through nanodevices to show how nanophysics and bioengineering are useful in everyday life. Then, there’s the human scale, with experiments and prototypes about our relation with other people and objects.

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And finally, there’s a collection of works and studies about big scale phenomena, such as the city, Internet, the planet, and even the universe, to convert them into visual, concise and useful information. We don’t need to say more: it is an unmissable exhibition, and thanks to the online exhibition on the exhibition website (by YugoP) you can find out what the offline exhibition offers.

f this is “the way we will live the day after tomorrow”, as the curator said in an interview about the exhibition projects, we will be glad to be the. 


http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2008/elasticmind/

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