Look, How Humans Talk with the Objects

The exhibition Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, opening on July 24, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, highlights the ways in which objects help people interact with complex systems and networks.

It focuses on objects and concepts that involve direct interaction, such as interfaces for ATMs, check-in kiosks, and emergency dispatch centers; visualization designs that render visible complex data about people, cities, and nations; communication devices and other products that translate and deliver information; expressive and talkative objects; and projects that establish a practical, emotional, or even sensual connection between their users and entities such as cities, companies, governmental institutions—as well as other people.

On view through November 7, the exhibition includes nearly 200 projects—ranging from the microscopic to the cosmic—designed in the past few years or currently under development.

It explores how today’s designers are finding ways to enhance communicative possibilities that embody a new balance between technology and people, while bringing technological breakthroughs to an approachable, human scale.

Greeting visitors to the exhibition is Yann Le Coroller’s Talking Carl, an iPhone and iPad app in which a box-shaped creature responds to sound and touch, and repeats what visitors say in a high-pitched voice.

Other interactive features include a working NYC MetroCard Vending Machine (designed by Masamichi Udagawa and Sigi Moeslinger of Antenna Design, and David Reinfurt, Kathleen Holman, and MTA New York City Transit, and manufactured for MTA New York City by Cubic Transportation Systems) with special Talk to Me MetroCards available for purchase; Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots, little robots that will roam the Museum asking visitors for help crossing galleries; and Tentacles, a multiplayer video game created by Michael Longford, Geoffrey Shea, and Rob King, that visitors can use to engage with a giant screen.

Each object in the exhibition has its own hashtag and QR code, which allows visitors to bookmark it and access more information about each object on the exhibition’s website, www.moma.org/talktome, in the galleries, or at home.

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