April 9th, 2013
This morning I am very excited to announce a project we have been working on for many months and that has had me giddy for days. littleBits has taken over the windows at the MoMA stores in two fully robotic and kinetic installations made of nothing but littleBits, and some craft materials.
In October of 2012, we had a meeting scheduled with the MoMA Store Retail Division to discuss them carrying our products in their store. This built upon an existing relationship that started in 2011 when littleBits was showcased as part of the MoMA Design Exhibit “Talk To Me” and was subsequently acquired for the Museum’s permanent collection. The day before the meeting, we decided to pitch a bigger idea: what if we designed, developed and constructed kinetic window displays for MoMA store made with nothing but littleBits? This would be a double challenge: On one hand, a challenge for us to push littleBits farther than ever before, using these small 1 inch square modules to animate 4 foot tall objects. And on the other hand, it would be a challenge to New York City (and the internet) to see what the window would inspire them to make on their own, to create a craze of kinetic and robotic projects without any expertise in engineering whatsoever.
We presented simple mockups to the team at MoMA Retail, they loved it so much that they offered us both stores, and extended the period to 1.5 months (from the original 2 weeks). Today, we are thrilled to unveil “littleBits Make Big Things Happen” a kinetic installation in two parts at the MoMA soho and midtown stores, no programming, no wiring, no soldering, all the Bits just snap, with magnets. The installations are comprised of 4 scenes, all starting from a tiny little character activating a huge sculpture: a tiny pedaler turning a Ferris wheel with hypnotic motion, 2 art handlers trying to adjust a giant frame with an abacus-like pattern, a small fisherman riding a shark 20 times his size and luring him with a blinking LED, and a crazy scientist activating a Frankenstein puppet that assembles and falls apart on command. The little characters are modeled around littleBits: yes, they are small, but they are powerful. This feeling is what drives our mission-driven company and product – we want to make everyone into an inventor.
When I started working on littleBits in 2008, and wrote “Electronics As Material”, I never imagined I would see littleBits in the collection and on the window of the foremost design museum and store in the world; the Museum that celebrates art and design made possible only through Science, the Museum that defies the “laws” of the art world and acquires 14 video games into its collection, the Museum that dubs this century that of the Child. The MoMA is right there with us in the revolution we at littleBits are living every day: technology is an art form, and we are only just beginning.
Many thanks to the MoMA retail team for embarking on an adventure with us and trusting us with their windows, their brand and their time. Even bigger thanks to our amazing friends and partners at Labour who, after they made our “what is littleBits” video, were once again up for a crazy challenge, to push these tiny magnetic electronic circuits beyond our wildest dreams. As always, they did it with such grace, attention to detail and extraordinary aesthetic. And of course, thank you to the littleBits team, who work hard, play hard and everyday take littleBits one step closer from a product to a movement.
Throughout the duration of the window displays (April 4th – May 12th), we will be running in-store demos at the MoMA store as well as showcasing replicas of the sculptures in the windows at both the Soho store and the Midtown store. Step-by-step instructions are available online so you can make your own. Most importantly, we are calling on all designers, artists, teachers, kids to participate in our “Make it Big” Challenge and submit their own projects with littleBits and win $500 worth of prizes (and eternal fame of course!). For this special occasion, we created a new “Make it Big” bundle for $49 (originally $71) that you can use to make your projects. More details on the challenge here.
Bitizens of the world, unite! I cannot wait to see what you all make…
Note: For the full press release, please click here