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22 / 06 / 2020

Neri Oxman & Material Ecology

Because of the Covid-19 global pandemic, New York’s MOMA was forced to close along with its exhibition Material Ecology by Neri Oxman. The exhibition documents an approach to a discipline called MATERIAL ECOLOGY that Oxman herself created. Under this concept, the designer and architect Neri Oxman and her team use advances in computer design, digital creation and synthetic biology to create compostable structures; glass objects that modify their optical and structural properties and silk garments made in one piece.

Some of these characteristics are featured in Silk Pavilion, a work created by silkworms and a human team. It is a large structure made from different materials and it questions the way the industry treats these insects. It stands for a production process in which humans do not have absolute power over the rest of the elements in the chain, as in nature, where all the elements intervene equally in the evolution of the process. It’s an aesthetically powerful artistic proposal that brings new ideas to improve our functioning as a society.

In works like Cartesian Wax or Armour, through 3D prints she explores the diverse possibilities that technology offers in creating objects that can respond and adapt to changes that are happening around them, thus behaving like life forms.

This exhibition, curated by Paula Antonelli, becomes an exhibition about the creative, sensitive power of The Mediated Matter Group that Oxman herself founded within the MIT Media Lab. Unfortunately, it can’t be visited yet because the museum remains closed, although it is expected to reopen soon.

Neri Oxman and Paola Antonelli, senior curator in MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design, guide the installation of "Silk Pavilion II" in the galleries at MOMA.
Neri Oxman, Silk Pavilion I, 2014. Via Mediated Matter.
Neri Oxman, Silk Pavilion I, 2014. Via Mediated Matter.
Installation views of Neri Oxman: Material Ecology, 2020. Via MOMA.