The other week I attended the MOMA’s latest exhibit, Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects. The exhibit focuses on the shift from function to meaning of objects in the way we interact with them. Each of the (almost 200) objects featured in the exhibit contains information that extends beyond their immediate use or appearance.
Examples range from a few iconic products of the late 1960s to several projects currently in development—including computer and machine interfaces, websites, video games, devices and tools, furniture and physical products, and extending to installations and whole environments – MOMA.
I’m not going to write about all the pieces featured – you can explore them for yo-self at the MOMA, if you’re in New York, or also in great detail on the interwebs.
Apart from the wonderful collection of interactive objects, the most interesting element of the exhibition is the way that (it’s set up for) people to interact with it.
Each piece is accompanied by a QR code, which viewers are promted to scan for more information. Upon scanning you’re directed to that concept’s page on MOMA’s website, which in some cases provides enhanced content (such as a brief video) and in other cases reiterates the info already presented in person.
This scanning behavior (for extra/hidden/momentarily unavailable information) draws a parallel with many of the intriguiing pieces featured in the show, which, with a bit of user interaction/participation, unlocks new information, scenes or even worlds. Some of my favorite ‘revealving’ pieces are: Kageo, “little shadows” that appear in everyday objects; The Haunted Book, which reveals a hidden layer of virtual animation; Notepad, a seemingly regular series of notepads with hidden, microprinted text, and Hide and See, a series of LCD screens that hides information in plain sight.
We all like to peer behind the curtain and image there’s more to things than meets the eye. As QR scanning continues to blow up, mobile will play an increasingly central role in faciliaitating that exchange.