The Object, Offline—the second installment in the three-part object series—explored the phenomenon of objects that are born in the digital space and only subsequently get translated into the physical one. Traditionally, art and history museums have been concerned with material culture—the objects, buildings, and environments constructed by a community, a culture’s physical evidence. Today, however, objects can be born digital, or they can exist in ambivalent states. The digital dimension has become an integral part of contemporary culture, social practices, and economic systems. As a consequence, we need to reconsider and reposition the significance, functionality, and usage of objects
Objects range from products to prints, demos of scientific concepts, works of art, and prototypes of new ways of designing and building. Some are made possible by digital crowd-funding campaigns. Others are artworks created and manipulated digitally and then materialized through 3-D printing or other computerized manufacturing methods. Others still are physical representations of algorithms mapping natural behaviors, which emerge into the world creating a new language and entirely new habits.
Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: How does culture cope with these new ultra-material circumstances? How do artists, designers, and architects materialize algorithms? How do they preview in the digital space what is meant to exist in the physical one? What kind of impact has digital fabrication had on established processes of production and commercialization? What new material forms and methods can emerge from new technologies and new habits of communication and collaboration? How do we gauge the value and trustworthiness of objects and services produced online versus offline?
The salon took place on June 16th, 2014.
David Platzker is Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art. Previously, David was the director of Specific Object, an innovative gallery, bookshop, and storehouse for a range of items, from artists’ publications, multiples, and unique works of art to literature, music, and counterculture. Before founding Specific Object, David was the Executive Director of Printed Matter, a nonprofit institution dedicated to the promotion of artists’ books and publications.
Emily Spivack is creator and writer of Threaded, the Smithsonian’s fashion history blog. Editor of Worn Stories, a collection of stories about clothing and memory; and Sentimental Value, a blog comprised of noteworthy stories about clothing found on eBay. Former executive director of Shop Well with You, a not-for-profit organization that helps women with cancer improve their body image and quality of life by using their clothing as a wellness tool.
Yancey Strickler is cofounder and CEO of Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform that was dubbed “the people’s NEA” by The New York Times. Prior to Kickstarter, Yancey was the editor-in-chief of eMusic, and his writing appeared in The Village Voice, New York magazine, Pitchfork, and other publications. In 2007 Yancey cofounded the eMusic Selects record label.
Neri Oxman is an architect, designer, and the Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter design research group. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between built and natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies.