Friday, September 2, 2011

Talk to Me (or Text Me)

To close the summer, Museum of Modern Art is hosting an exhibit called Talk to Me, chronicling  how people communicate with objects. From showcasing an interesting hand written code that was shared between homeless people to mark safe shelters in the 1900s to paying homage to the "human experience" of smart phones, the exhibit got me thinking about why it is so much easier to relate honestly to objects of technology instead of the objects of our affection.

Talk to Me highlights how overtime, people make objects more and more human to enhance our experiences with them. Think about it, the slightest human touch on ATMs, GPS and alarm clocks can make them feel more civilized and interactive.  But, ironically, when it comes to romance, we use objects to make our experiences less human, so we can open up more.

Online dating profiles are a great example. It has become almost normal to pour the intimate details of who we are and what we are hoping for onto a computer screen, but could you imagine actually articulating this information on a first or date? "Hi I'm Jewels, I work hard and play hard and am looking for a non-smoker who drinks occasionally, makes six figures and has a soft spot for REM. Additionally, I'm looking for a love that makes me want to jump out of the bed some mornings and never leave it other mornings. Did I mention he has to LOVE children and support my career?"

The offline dating game can be filled with pretense, obscurity and the infamous battle of HTG (hard to get). A funny game considering the purpose of dating is actually to be "gotten" in the end. Just think about the close of a date when you stumble through an awkward good-bye only two get a schmoopie text 5 minutes later saying "had so much fun, do it again?" Why is it so much easier to talk to your Iphone then to look in someone's eyes and speak honestly? 

Talk to me about what you think...via comments of course.  Talk to Me: through November 7th at MOMA, 11 West 53rd Street NY, NY.


  1. There is a small segement of the male population out there that was born without the "fear gene" when it comes to rejection from the opposite sex. You know the guys that I am talking about. It's either the guy who typically says lewd or semi-inappropriate things to random girls until he finds one that actually thinks it's cute and somewhat endearing, or the guy with the rico suave attitude smelling like Drakkar (yes some guys still wear it) who always manages to come up with some clever little gem to engage a women in conversation. The guy who's philosophy is "if I hit on 20 women and even just one says YES, then it's all worth it." The typical guy is unwilling to endure 19 rejections to get to the one girl who will lap up his bullshit. Not so with this guy. Technology relinquishes the fear gene for all of us. The pressure that is usually there almost entirely disipates. That anxiety of seeing a girl's horrified expression when you try and talk to her, or proposition her melts away when it's over your phone or PC. Somehow we all become a caricature of our true self and do our best "Dos Equis most interesting man" impression. But put us in the same room together and "hey would love to see you tonight. why don't you come over later... oh, and why don't you bring a friend with you too." never even comes close to coming out of our mouths. The same phenomenon occurs with game shows too. Everybody "always" knows all the right answers on Cash Cab. But put them on the show and I'll guarantee you they choke up. It's alot easier to do karoke tucked away in a tiny room with a few friends drinking Sapporo then at an open mic with an entire bar full of people staring at you. You actually have to see them gawk at you with eyes of sheer wonderment, "thinking what a fuckin loser."


  2. VV -- you are prolific at always. being completely fearless = low self awareness when it comes to dating. technology wipes out some of the reality of any rejection. people feel like they can delete emails and texts like they never happened. if only we could delete the worst scenes of our lives, although i suppose that can sort of happen with alcohol :)