menu

MoMA Acquires The @ Symbol For Its Collection

MoMA Acquires The @ Symbol For Its Collection
culture

New York's Museum of Modern Art has announced the acquisition of the @ symbol for their collection.

Kyana Gordon
  • 22 march 2010

Today, New York’s Museum of Modern Art announced that it has acquired the @ symbol for its collection. Brought to prominence by American electrical engineer Ray Tomlinson, MoMa explains why they chose to acquire the @ symbol, and the historical context from which it evolved to its current place in the digital world:

Is @ Design?

The appropriation and reuse of a pre-existing, even ancient symbol—a symbol already available on the keyboard yet vastly underutilized, a ligature meant to resolve a functional issue (excessively long and convoluted programming language) brought on by a revolutionary technological innovation (the Internet)—is by all means an act of design of extraordinary elegance and economy.

Why @ Is in the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art

Tomlinson performed a powerful act of design that not only forever changed the @ sign’s significance and function, but which also has become an important part of our identity in relationship and communication with others. His (unintended) role as a designer must be acknowledged and celebrated by the one collection—MoMA’s—that has always celebrated elegance, economy, intellectual transparency, and a sense of the possible future directions that are embedded in the arts of our time, the essence of modern.

Dating as far back to the sixth or seventh century, @ was meant to fuse the Latin preposition ad—meaning “at”, “to,” or “toward”—into a unique pen stroke. Tomlinson gave the @ symbol a completely new function, in step with its origins of building relationships between entities and establishing links based on objective and measurable rules, a key trait now embodied in computer programming language.

What exactly did MoMa acquire, and how will it be displayed? Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design explains:

We have acquired the design act in itself and as we will feature it in different typefaces, we will note each time the specific typeface as if we were indicating the materials that a physical object is made of.

MoMa

culture
Trending

How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Retail
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Today

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Winthrop, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Financial Services Today

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Advertising Today

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Thanks to a new partnership between the ride sharing service and Budweiser, drunk passengers are able to receive free rides

Related Expert

Adam Leibsohn

Gifs and Communication

Design & Architecture Today

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

Travel Today

What Happens When An Entire Airport Terminal Rebrands Itself?

JFK's Terminal 4 underwent a dramatic design facelift to guide and delight travelers

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

No search results found.