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Cabspotting in MoMA: Design and the Elastic Mind

Stamen is proud to announce that Cabspotting, our project with San Francisco’s Exploratorium, Scott Snibbe andAmy Balkin, will be part of an upcoming show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The exhibition,Design and the Elastic Mind, opens to the public on February 24, 2008.

The show is a survey of work at the intersection of design and science, and from what I know, the roster of participants reads like a who’s who of people I’ve admired for a long time (although I can’t seem to find a list of them on the web anywhere — MoMA?). It’s nice company to be in. From the exhibition catalog:

“In the past few decades, individuals have experienced dramatic changes in some of the most established dimensions of human life: time, space, matter, and individuality. Working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, gleefully drowning in information, acting fast in order to preserve some slow downtime, people cope daily with dozens of changes in scale. Minds adapt and acquire enough elasticity to be able to synthesize such abundance. One of design’s most fundamental tasks is to stand between revolutions and life, and to help people deal with change. Designers have coped with these displacements by contributing thoughtful concepts that can provide guidance and ease as science and technology evolve. Several of them — the Mosaic graphic user’s interface for the Internet, for instance — have truly changed the world. Design and the Elastic Mind is a survey of the latest developments in the field. It focuses on designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and social mores, changes that will demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior, and convert them into objects and systems that people understand and use.

“The exhibition will highlight examples of successful translation of disruptive innovation, examples based on ongoing research, as well as reflections on the future responsibilities of design. Of particular interest will be the exploration of the relationship between design and science and the approach to scale. The exhibition will include objects, projects, and concepts offered by teams of designers, scientists, and engineers from all over the world, ranging from the nanoscale to the cosmological scale. The objects range from nanodevices to vehicles, from appliances to interfaces, and from pragmatic solutions for everyday use to provocative ideas meant to influence our future choices. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.”

While Cabspotting is going to be actually hanging in the MoMA (holy f**k!), I’m also gratified by the inclusion of our work with Digg in the exhibition’s printed catalog, and that Graffiti Archaeology and Trulia Hindsight will be featured on the exhibition website. I’ve often dreamed of having a project featured in the MoMA; having four in one show is frankly a bit overwhelming.

For the exhibit, we’ve re-factored the project so that it works in a gallery setting — we didn’t want to just put the website up on the wall and walk away. This is somewhat new territory for us, as almost all of our work is done from start to finish on the web, but I’m excited to see the studio growing in new directions (this is the whole point, right?). Over time, we’re changing the piece’s variables: taxi speed, trail length and dot size all grow and shrinking in a continously varying series of Brian Eno-type oscillations, so the piece is never quite the same from frame to frame and changes quite a bit when you look at it. A small screenshot:

Cabspotting at MoMa

Shawn has been heading up the project and is heading to New York tomorrow for the install, and we’re very glad to have had Gabriel Dunnedesigning and developing the installation with us.

See you at the Museum?

Published: 02.12.08
Updated: 12.08.21

About Stamen

Stamen is a globally recognized strategic design partner and one of the most established cartography and data visualization studios in the industry. For over two decades, Stamen has been helping industry giants, universities, and civic-minded organizations alike bring their ideas to life through designing and storytelling with data. We specialize in translating raw data into interactive visuals that inform, inspire and incite action. At the heart of this is our commitment to research and ensuring we understand the challenges we face. We embrace ambiguity, we thrive in data, and we exist to build tools that educate and inspire our audiences to act.