Monday, September 12, 2011
If I could sum up MoMA's "Talk to Me" exhibit in one phrase, it would be that on the above placard. The theme was supposed to be interactive art, but it mainly consisted of finished products behind glass or processes that ended in other places (such as BakerTweet). I expected to feel like a kid in a candy store with this exhibit, but instead I felt like a kid in a china shop. My museum-going buddy described it as "frustrating," and I couldn't agree more. I did enjoy playing with Doodlebuzz, an experimental news feed interface, and listening to the inner thoughts of trees in Tree Listening. And seeing the Metrocard machine in a museum context made me notice for the first time that there is a scrolling "If you see something, say something" LED sign above each and every one (file under: disturbing). Overall though, I would say this exhibit was a big ol' flop. In contrast to the inaccessibility of "Talk To Me," Carlito Carvalhosa's "Sum of Days" is a truly participatory installation in The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Its ethereal beauty is what initially lured us in, but the intriguing system of microphones and speakers is what continued to lead us through labyrinth. The microphones record "accidental noise inherent in everyday experience" of visitors walking through the installation, and each day a layer of sound from the day before to create a multi-textured soundscape. In addition to these everyday sounds, musicians will be performing inside the installation periodically and this will be recorded and integrated as well. Ironically, MoMA announces the performance times each day through its Twitter account. It seems that "Sum of Days" is a more compelling and use-friendly interactive experience.