jason oke

If you’re not in awe, you’re not paying attention.

Interactivity & heightened expectations

When I was in NY last week, I dropped by MoMA for a quick visit to the Design & The Elastic Mind exhibit. The exhibit is great, but I noticed an unexpected side effect to their excellent website: compared to the online experience, the show itself was a bit of a letdown.

Now, the show is great, and I’d recommend it highly – there are definitely some things that benefit from seeing them first hand, or interacting with them. The problem is just that the website is so good, so well designed and so interactive, that by contrast the actual show almost suffered in comparison.

If you haven’t been to the site, go – it immerses you in all the different exhibits and lets you play around in lots of different ways that are very un-museum-like. The actual museum show, though, is constrained by all the physical limits imposed by any museum show: you can’t touch or interact with most of it. This makes sense – obviously you can’t have thousands of tourists banging up your displays everyday – but it means that in comparison, the show can feel static, slightly lifeless, and very much like… well, like a museum show. It’s an interesting challenge – one I’m sure was difficult for the curators – because good design is by its nature interactive to some degree, yet a museum show forces you to view something from a removed perspective.

Then again, I have a feeling that if I’d seen the show first I’d have loved it and raved about it, and then seeing the website after would have just been an even more impressive bonus. But perhaps I wouldn’t have been excited to see the show in the first place had it not been for the excellent website?

Something to noodle: as we plan transmedia brand experiences, we need to keep in mind how the order in which things are experienced can seriously affect the expectations of what comes next – and yet we usually can’t control what order that experience does, in fact, happen.

Filed under: Design, Web/Tech

Design & The Elastic Mind

I’ve been spending most of my time recently thinking about design and its ability to shape and influence behavior. Design is one of the core things we do here at Juniper Park, and I believe it’s at the core of the future of communications (I’m not the only one).

So I’m really excited by the new MOMA exhibit with the fantastic title of Design & The Elastic Mind.

From the exhibit overview:

Adaptability is an ancestral distinction of intelligence, but today’s instant variations in rhythm call for something stronger: elasticity, the product of adaptability plus acceleration. Design and the Elastic Mind explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world by bringing together design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations. The exhibition highlights designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history—changes that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior—and translate them into objects that people can actually understand and use.

I totally want to steal the line “combining advanced research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations” to describe what planning does (or at least what it should aim for).

The exhibit contains 300 projects divided into seven different design topics. They’ve put the entire exhibit online, along with some projects that couldn’t make it into the physical exhibit.

You have to check out the website. The site, like the exhibit itself, is mind-blowing in depth. And true to its name, it’s highly elastic. It runs the gamut from exploring different ways to visualize information, to 3D modeling, to pre-fab building, to computational origami, to Google Maps mash-ups, to videography of oral histories of family cooking secrets.

Needless to say, this was a very bad thing for my productivity today. I can’t wait to get to NY to see it in person. Anybody want to hook up an excursion around the PSFK conference?

Filed under: Design, Web/Tech

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