Click the photo for more from MoMA’s new exhibit, Applied.
Technology in design has been a source of amazement from both an artistic and scientific standpoint, and now a new medium is gaining respect and admiration in the arts: video games.
Applied Design, the current rotating exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, features selected pieces from the museum’s permanent collection that serve as an example of advances in modern technology for their merits in creativity, design and intelligence. The exhibit, which opened March 2, contains pieces that span a wide array of disciplines, from an earthquake-proof table by artists Ido Bruno and Arthur Brutter to an assortment of video games.
“We’ve been trying to emphasize other forms of design besides graphics and besides products in our collection,” said Kate Carmody, the curatorial assistant of the department of architecture and design. “Interaction design was one of these categories that we wanted to emphasize and games seemed a very good way to do that.”
The game pieces on display are popular titles but revolutionary within the field of video games, entertainment and technology. Among the recent acquisitions are older games like Pac-Man and Tetris, and modern favorites like Katamari Damacy and The Sims. Some of the games are presented as video demos only, while others, including Portal and Passage, are playable.
“The games we chose were based on certain criteria that was focused on interaction design,” Carmody said. “The oldest thing in the show is from the 1990s, so it’s really design over the last 20 years and looking at computer-aided design, rapid prototyping, slow prototyping.”
In addition to the 14 video games on display, the installation also features examples of advances in engineering. Other featured pieces include Mine Kafon, a dandelion-shaped mine detector by Massoud Hassani, and a solar-sintered bowl made by Markus Kayser using only the natural resources of sand and sunlight to simulate the process of 3-D printing.
“The idea is that it’s a group of concepts,” Kayser said of his solar-sintered bowl. “A question, really, of how can we produce in the future. In the desert you have energy in abundance and material in abundance. [Printing] would work continually without needing anything else installed.”
Kevin McCoy, Steinhardt associate professor of art and art education, would like to see an expansion in the range of forms displayed.
“As a survey of the complex landscape of contemporary design, the show’s themes are right on,” McCoy said. “But since the ideas enumerated in the show are so thoroughly a part of everyday life, I’d encourage MoMA to bring them to the painting and sculpture galleries as well, not just the design and media spaces.”
MoMA is looking to acquire additional video games for display like Space Invaders, Minecraft and Tempest.
Applied Design is on display in The Philip Johnson Architecture and Design Galleries of the Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53 St, from March 2, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014.
Ariana DiValentino is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this article appeared in the March 3 edition. Ariana DiValentino is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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