People and their technology: Talk to Me opens at the MoMA this weekend

Museum of Modern Art design department curator Paola Antonelli’s latest show, “Talk to Me,” opens at the MoMA on July 24, and it has all the makings of a hit.  Featuring about 200 design objects, the show pulls together an array of items from art, commercial, and academic spaces that exemplify how people and machines interface with one another. The premise is further described on the show’s blog:

The exhibition hinges on an important development in the culture of design (and in culture at large), a shift from the centrality of function to that of meaning. From this perspective, all objects contain information that goes well beyond their immediate use or appearance.

Previous and upcoming PopTech presenters make a strong showing throughout the exhibition: Kacie Kinzer (PopTech 2009), Zach Lieberman (PopTech 2009), Matt Jones (PopTech 2011), Ory Okolloh (Social Innovation Fellow 2009), Erik Hersman (Social Innovation Fellow 2008), Nick Felton (PopTech 2009), Daisy Ginsberg (PopTech 2011) and David Merrill (PopTech 2011 partner) are all exhibiting work.

We’re particularly excited about the piece from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab (PopTech 2010) that's included in the show entitled Backtalk, a series of visualizations that explore what happens to the large quantities of electronics generated annually that have been discarded or have been adopted by new owners. The team at MIT developed two different methods to track obsolete electronics as they travel across the world for reuse or recycle. They partnered with non-profit organizations that shipped donated computers to the developing world, attaching pre-approved GPS-enabled trackers and using the built-in computer cameras to capture images of the new users. They also utilized a tracking system to trace e-waste like batteries, cell phones, and printer cartridges coming from Seattle, Washington as they travel to recycling centers.

In a press release about the project, Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT SENSEable City Lab, explains that, “initial results provide an unprecedented glimpse into the global e-waste chain and its patterns of reuse and disposal.”

Check out this project - as well as many others from the PopTech network - at “Talk to Me” from July 24 – November 7, 2011 at the MoMA.

Image: Backtalk from SENSEable City Lab

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