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Neri Oxman: Material Ecology

February 22, 2020 – May 25, 2020

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art announces Neri Oxman: Material Ecology, an exhibition featuring the work of architect, designer, and inventor Neri Oxman, on view from February 22 through May 25, 2020. The exhibition will include eight major projects that Oxman has created in the course of her 20-year career. Through her work, Oxman has pioneered not only new ideas for materials, objects, buildings, and construction processes, but also frameworks for interdisciplinary—and interspecies—collaborations.

Oxman is a professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs The Mediated Matter Group. She has coined the term “material ecology” to explain her process of bringing together materials science, digital fabrication technologies, and organic design to produce techniques and objects informed by the structural, systemic, and aesthetic wisdom of nature. Integrating computational form-generation with in-depth research of natural phenomena and behaviors, material ecology operates at the intersection of biology, engineering, and materials- and computer science. By means of this methodology and approach, the observation of, for instance, the configuration of the bark of birch trees, the characteristics of crustaceans’ shells, the behavior of silkworms, the expressions of melanin, or the flow of human breath have generated new design and production processes. While each research project is individually groundbreaking, taken as a group, they constitute a new philosophy of designing and making—and even unmaking—the world around us.

Neri Oxman is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director, Research & Development; and Anna Burckhardt, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

 



The exhibition is made possible by Allianz, MoMA’s partner for design and innovation.

 

Press Kit

Images

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Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Aguahoja I. 2018. The Aguahoja Artifacts Display: A catalog of material experiments spanning four years of research shows the range of aesthetics and behaviors we have been able to elicit in medium-to-large-scale prints via performative geometric toolpaths, generative design, bio-composite distributions, and variable fabrication parameters. Photo: The Mediated Matter Group. Courtesy The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Glass I. 2015. Courtesy The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Silk Pavilion. 2013. A Bombyx mori silkworm deposits silk fiber on a digitally fabricated scaffolding structure. Photo: The Mediated Matter Group. Courtesy The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Silk Pavilion. 2013. View through Silk Pavilion apertures as the silk worms skin the structure. Photo: The Mediated Matter Group. Courtesy The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Totems. 2018. Melanins are a group of pigments ranging in color from yellow to brown. The term “melanin” often refers to eumelanin, a particular type that is brown-black in color. However, other types, such as pheomelanin (yellow-red in color), also exist. This “library” represents the diversity of melanin, and includes constituent components of the reaction as well as melanin-containing natural materials, such as feathers and cuttlefish ink. Courtesy Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Totems. 2018. Produced by Stratasys, Ltd. Totems has been 3-D printed to include six distinct liquid channels and pockets. Each pocket contains melanin from a different species, from bird to cuttlefish. Courtesy Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Totems. 2018. Architectural proposal for an environmentally responsive melanin infused structure. Created for Design Indaba. Rendering by Eric de Broche des Combes, Luxigon. The glass structure is designed to contain multiple strains of melanin, naturally obtained on site and biologically synthesized at the lab. It provides UV protection during the day, while enabling stargazing upon sunset. A first-of-its-kind biologically augmented facade, the structure is designed to protect endangered species on site and to celebrate the diversity of life on our planet. Courtesy Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Vespers. 2018. Series 1, Mask 5, front view. Designed for The New Ancient Collection. Curated and 3-D printed by Stratasys. Photo: Yoram Reshef

Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group. Lazarus. 2016. Produced by, and in collaboration with, Stratasys, Ltd. Courtesy The Mediated Matter Group