Design & the Elastic Mind

February 21, 2008

About a year ago my Brother Jon and his friend Sep Kamvar were commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC to create a piece for an exhibit called Design and the Elastic Mind.

The result is a project called “I Want You To Want Me” which explores the way people represent themselves in the world of online dating. My explanation for the project is that it gathers information from online dating profiles and puts it together in a meaningful way so you can see trends.

Tuesday night was the opening which I drove down for. Each artist was allowed 7 guests (there were about 40 artists) but somehow they ended up with over 2,000 people. It was a great time and I was thrilled to be there for the opening and as a cheerleader for Jon & Sep.

The exhibit runs through May 12th so if you are in NYC and need to fill an afternoon head on over to MOMA – they have so many great exhibits and beautiful artwork. Jon’s piece is in a gallery on the 6th floor.

The entrance to the exhibit

The project is displayed on a 56″ touch screen monitor. Each bubble represents an individual profile – blue for boys and pink for girls. At the top of the screen you can choose your search parameters – men & women, age range, and “looking for.” As the bubbles float by you touch them to see the person’s profile.

Over the course of a few days they filmed over 500 silhouette videos of people doing things from brushing their teeth to doing push ups. It is fun to watch the different balloons and hone in on what people are doing.

The information that results from searches is displayed in different formations – this one a double helix. Another of the modules is called “Matchmaker.” Someone’s profile might say – “I am looking for a caring, honest, and loving partner.” They might be matched with someone who says “I love dogs, cats, photographers, and am very honest.” Some work better than others but it is fun to see what the code comes up with!

Jon demo-ing (not sure if that’s a word) the project

Jon painted balloons for his and Sep’s fourteen guests.

This silhouette is my friend Tom dancing with a mannequin πŸ™‚

A cool tree that was next to Jon’s project

Even little kids like touching the screen – thankfully the screen was not harmed in the second photograph but they hope that perhaps in the future people won’t do this πŸ™‚

Happy siblings and a proud sister πŸ™‚

I can’t do this project justice online so go check it out at MOMA – the exhibit opens to the public on Sunday.

In the next few days the website for the project will be live –


I’ve heard of this project on TED and can’t believe this is your brother! Talent and creativity run in the family :-0 That’s awesome!

How cool of a project is that? You must be SO proud!!!

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