Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria mosque blast: Scores die in attack during prayers in Kano

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarko Bites Back: Ex-President Determined to Reclaim UMP Leadership

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

No Deal: Iran Nuclear Talks End Without Agreement

Read more

FASHION

"Cloakroom Vestiaire Obligatoire" a tender and hypnotic performance by Tilda Swinton and Olivier Saillard.

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Learning the language of love

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Calls for probe into 1998 murder of journalist

Read more

FOCUS

Is this the end of Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Movement'?

Read more

#THE 51%

France marks 40th anniversary of abortion laws

Read more

#TECH 24

Virtual insanity? Artist to 'experience life' through Oculus Rift headset for 28 days

Read more

Culture

For MOMA it is @rt

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-23

Calling it a "design act" the Museum of Modern Art in New York has added the @ symbol to its architecture and design collection. The symbol, currently used every day by millions around the world, is actually thought to be centuries old.

REUTERS - For the French, it may always remind them of delicious escargot, but for almost everyone else the @ symbol has come to embody the age of the Internet and its constantly evolving language.

In honor of the little squiggly’s potency, the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced on Monday that it had added the @ symbol to its architecture and design collection, citing its “design power.”

The @ symbol, currently used every day by millions around the world in email addresses, text messages and on twitter.com, is thought to be ancient, the museum said, possibly dating back to the sixth century.

Because the symbol is not a concrete thing but an abstract idea, it has changed meaning many times in the course of its existence.

Calling it a “design act,” the museum celebrated the @ sign’s multiplicity of meanings, from symbolizing a dog for Russians and a cat to Finns, to becoming ubiquitous in email exchanges.

“The @ symbol is now part of the very fabric of life all over the world,” said Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design, in a blog posted Monday on the museum’s website.

“It has truly become a way of expressing society’s changing technological and social relationships, expressing new forms of behavior and interaction in a new world,” he said.

The symbol’s association with the Internet dates back to 1971 when the @ symbol appeared in the first email ever, sent by engineer Ray Tomlinson.

By adding the symbol to its collection, the museum called the move an acquisition, but the museum does not obtain ownership of the symbol—which remains in the public realm.

“It is a momentous, elating acquisition that makes us all proud,” said Antonelli, celebrating the move as a daring feat because it shows that “physical possession of an object as a requirement for an acquisition is no longer necessary.”
 

Date created : 2010-03-23

COMMENT(S)