SXSW keynote: Paola Antonelli on the future of design

Date/time: 2 p.m. Friday CAAEk29UsAAxAuR

Presenter: Paola Antonelli, senior curator for architecture & design, Museum of Modern Art

The gist: Antonelli — who designed the original MoMA web site that launched in 1994 — presented an overview of where today’s cutting-edge designers are working, from biodegradable bricks made of corn stalks and mushrooms to semi-living food that’s grown from bacteria in vitro. Design today, Antonelli said, is about asking new questions and framing new problems, not focused on the problem-solving of designers of past generations. “(This) is a view of design that is dynamic,  that’s about ambiguity and interstitial spaces.”

From the hall: Omar Gallaga reports that Antonelli’s talk attracted a fairly good-sized crowd with the Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall 5 about 75 percent full though about halfway through, people began to leave. “(Antonelli) didn’t seem to galvanize the audience by the midpoint of her talk,” Gallaga reported. “Al Gore had a pretty sparse crowd this morning, so that may just be opening day slowness.”

Takeaways: Design is a continually diversifying discipline whose best practioners today understand that design must be flexible, nimble, responsive. “Design as Parkour: use what is at hand in different ways” Antonelli said.

Session hashtag: #antonelli

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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