Talk to Me

Carolyn’s Team Pick:

Talk to Me, curated by Paola Antolelli at the Museum of Modern Art, explores how technology innovations are changing the way people interact and relate. The MoMA says:

“The purpose of design began to shift in the late 20th century from utility toward a more holistic combination of purpose and meaning. Thus far, 21st-century culture is centered on interaction: “I communicate, therefore I am” is the defining affirmation of contemporary existence, and objects and systems that were once charged only with formal elegance and functional soundness are now also expected to have personalities. Contemporary designers do not just provide function, form, and meaning, but also must draft the scripts that allow people and things to develop and improvise a dialogue. …

Talk to Me explores this new terrain, featuring a variety of designs that enhance communicative possibilities and embody a new balance between technology and people, bringing technological breakthroughs up or down to a comfortable, understandable human scale. Designers are using the whole world to communicate, transforming it into a live stage for an information parkour and enriching our lives with emotion, motion, direction, depth, and freedom.”

The exhibition currently has 194 works, tagged with categories like “interfaces,” “mutants and fairy tales,” and “liminal spaces” and called things like “Devices for Mindless Communication,” “Hi, a Real Human Interface,” and “Locals and Tourists, New York and London.” One especially neat (and probably relevant to you at this exact second) work is “The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions,” by David McCandless. It looks like this:

"The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions," by David McCandless

Talk to Me runs at the MOMA from July 24 to November 7. A significant number of works are available online, and even more info is available on the Talk to Me curators’ blog.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Pingback: Talk to Me - Autostraddle - Parkour PAC

  2. I actually didn’t get distracted at all while reading “The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions,” pyramid. I could see my cell phone activity light blinking, but I stayed vigilant. This is impressive.

  3. I saw it when I went to the MOMA a few weeks ago. It’s absolutely fascinating and I definitely recommend it.

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