Experiments for the common good at MoMA

Design for Everyone

In its current exhibition, This is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good, New York's Museum of Modern Art calls attention to the credo that it has built its illustrious design collection upon: Whether an object is designed for utilitarian or experimental purposes, it should aim towards the betterment of society.

The show's title refers to a tweet made by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games in London. Through this Twitter message (This is for Everyone), Berners-Lee triggered LCD screens in the audience's seats to light up and spell out the same message throughout the tribunes, illuminating the entire stadium. His larger message, quite wonderfully, referenced the Internet's potential as a tool for democratization.

While the development of technology and the Internet have played a remarkable role in making information available all across the world, we sometimes overlook the fact that access to both is not a global given. This is for Everyone highlights the social relevance of design as an adaptor and as a promise between what is and what could be, in order to serve the common good while making use of current technologies.

Arduino "Diecimila" Microcontroller (2004-2005) by Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, David Melles, and Giorgio Olivero Arduino

The Arduino, for example, is an open-source, programmable micro controller designed to be used by anyone—from school children to expert engineers—who wants to tackle a DIY electronics project. Designed by a team of researchers, designers and artists, the electric box makes interactive electronics—from robotics to art projects, and anything in between—accessible for a population who was previously intimidated by the seeming complexity of bringing simple, programmed electronics and objects to life.

The exhibition also features works by Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby, Formafantasma, Markus Kayser, Eyal Burstein, and many more. Besides actual objects, it highlights interaction design as well through a selection of generative info graphics and video games, reminding us of the power design has in our everyday lives: We are constantly engaging with it, and forming our behaviors around it.

Yuri Suzuki‘s Colour Chaser (2010-2013): A small vehicle follows a drawn circuit and translates colour markings into sound © Edith Itomi Kayoda

Imaginary Beings collection by Neri Oxman in collaboration with Craig Carter (2012) © The Museum of Modern Art Exhibition view: Imaginary Beings collection by Neri Oxman in collaboration with Craig Carter (2012) and Computational Origami by Eric and Martin Demaine (2003-2007) © The Museum of Modern Art

This is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good is open until January 1st, 2016 at the MoMA in New York City. For more info, click here.

*All images courtesy of MoMA