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Neri Oxman: Material Ecology Exhibition at MoMA

A new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) showcases the radical projects and sustainable design solutions of boundary-breaking polymath and innovator Neri Oxman.


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 by Yoram Reshef.
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 by Yoram Reshef.

American-Israeli architect, designer, academic and inventor Neri Oxman has built a reputation for being at the cutting edge of new design materials and methodologies. Throughout her 20 year career the polymath has conceived of ground-breaking ideas for materials, objects, buildings, and construction processes that straddle disciplines, challenge old frameworks, and push for interdisciplinary—and interspecies—collaborations. 


After graduating from Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and London’s Architectural Association, in 2005 Oxman moved to MIT to work on her PhD, where in 2010 she was made an associate professor. Since then she has led the Meditated Matter Group at MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research team working at the intersection of design and biology which focuses on ‘nature-inspired design and design-inspired nature.’ In recent years the team has designed a synthetic apiary that creates a constant spring-like environment for bees; water-based digital and robotic fabrication of biodegradable material constructed from molecular components found in tree branches, insect exoskeletons, and our own bones; and a swarm fabrication system called Fiberbots which can autonomously build architectural structures. From tree bark and crustaceans’ shells to silkworms and human breath, nature has influenced Neri Oxman's design and production processes, culminating in an exhibition of her innovative designs.


Material Ecology, a new exhibition which opened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) earlier last month presents a chance to explore her career to date, showcasing her research at MIT Media Lab. Organised by Museum of Modern Art senior curator Paola Antonelli and curatorial assistant Anna Burckhardt, the exhibition marks the first time Oxman's work is shown as a collection.