Talk to Me @ MOMA

The “Talk to Me” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is appropriate for the timing of the show and the scope that it shows. The show in my opinion basically conveys, everything is interactive.


Even though everything is interactive, there are varying degrees of interactivity. Some installations required you to actually touch the display in order to see the “magic” that occurs, others were visual displays of the results of the device created.


But as static some displays were, the exhibition itself had a degree of interaction from the mere scanning of a QR code in order to get more information about the work.


But now what if these codes were ported elserwhere.


I would describe interactivity as both parties to the action are aware that there is a response being waited upon each action compared to the idea where a static work such as a book.

Even though we interact with the book by reading it and reacting to the words on the page, it’s not interactive. It’s participation. The book does not expect a response from the reader nor does it care (Crawford 2003).

The museum experience is usually participatory as we willingly enter and absorb the works that stand before us. Like Monet’s “Water Lilies”, the benches that sit before it on the 5th floor of the MOMA invite the visitor to sit in front of the installation and look at the painting.

This is in stark contrast to the “Talk to Me’ exhibit.

I believe interactivity is where the work is complete once the intended user completes the cycle to which the art is represented. I see it very evident in the augmented reality works. They may range from the QR code in the field (pictured above) or the fact that USB ports stuck on the wall invite users to stick their computers next to it to download an image into your computer.




Roopa (@rouxpz)getting a virus from the wall.


The Hungy Hungry Eat Head needed users to hold augmented reality cards for the program to put animated heads over their bodies displayed on a giant screen for everyone to see.


Augmented (hyper) Reality : Augmented City 3D

Though these works in augmented reality were not interactive at the show, at the time of their creation to the public is highly interactive. Though I believe the Augumented City 3D is conceptual in its “Minority Report” likeness but everywhere. It shows on how the tech can take us in that direction.

But not everything on display was as interactive as others as there are varying levels of interactivity with the work.

The Bat Billboard I believe is one example where it is not human interactive but instead bat interactive. We humans just watch the response on the billboard to describe the actions of the bats.

I found the BBC Dimensions exhibit particularly interesting where it uses existing data such as the length of the moon walk by the crew of Apollo 11 in real scale or like how long the mars rover travelled. It gives us who are not involved in theses events but curious to know about the information a sense of the scale of these events were traced out to our neighborhood which brings it closer to us.

Of all the works I do enjoy the fact that LIttle Big Planet made it to the exhibit in comparison to all of the “interactive” videogames out there. I believe this is the closest to mass market interactivity we can get that is not essential as compared to ATM interfaces, metro and oyster card dispensers. The level of user intervention in the game takes it beyond the participatory nature of media and instead turns it into something else.

Maybe in the next exhibit we’ll have to redefine “interactivity” once again. But for now, the future looks promising.



Crawford, Chris. “The Art of Interactive Design” (2003) No Starch Press. San Francisco.



  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: