Ah: the art web is abuzz because that rascally MoMA has announced that they have “acquired” Ray Tomlinson’s @, but they don’t OWN it.
Instead, their Department of Architecture and Design has “tagged it” as they say, an option now available to the ballsiest of curators who, in our proud age of electronic euphasia “are [set] free to tag the world and acknowledge things that ‘cannot be had.”
In other words, they can talk about it.
MoMA: “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.”
And, getting a whopping lot of press by appropriating this appropriation: well, now, talk about elegance and economy!
For insight into the power grab for other nontangibles: check out post.thing, Steven Kaplan’s very thoughtful blog. wherein he mentions also Erica Orden’s “Collecting Smoke” (New York Magazine, Dec 28, 2008).
Erica Orden Archive on New York Magazine:
Steven Kaplan’s Blog: