Virtual Design Festival

Paola Antonelli is first of five speakers at today's Forward x Virtual Design Festival collaboration

Today's Forward x VDF collaboration features five talks, starting here with Paola Antonelli plus typographer Erik Spiekermann, Freitag's Pascal Dulex, artist Sarah Illenberger and rocking graphic designers Snask.

Since this year's Forward Festival cannot take place in Vienna due to coronavirus, the organisers have partnered with VDF to present five of the best of its past lectures.

Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, spoke at Forward Festival in the Austrian capital in 2017.

In her talk, Antonelli focused on how, as a curator in a big museum, you can move things forward by pushing unorthodox projects.

MoMA exists to "document and praise" art

"The motto of the museum is that it exists to document and praise the art of our time," Antonelli said. "As the technology changes, art and design change with it, but sometimes people don't," she said.

Antonelli acquisitions for the museum include the first set of emojis, designed by Shigetaka Kurita and released in 1999, and the rainbow flag.

In her talk, she revealed how she came up with concepts for exhibitions at MoMA that included more unusual types of design, such as interactive design, video games and digital design.

"I had to consider rethinking my position on design"

Antonelli argued that including new types of design and unfamiliar ideas in the museum's collection challenged its audience, and consequently managed to push its work forward.

She revealed how her work at MoMA has also made her reflect on her own views about design. An example is the museum's project Design and Violence, which started with the launch of Cody Wilson's open-source 3D printed gun that could shoot real bullets.

"I was stunned, and then five minutes later I was angry at myself for being so surprised. Of course anything that we do as human beings can go either way, whether we want it or not," she explained.

"I had to consider rethinking my position about design and being a little more nuanced, rather than so black and white."

Last year Antonelli curated the groundbreaking Broken Nature exhibition at the Triennale di Milano. In October, she was a keynote speaker at the Dezeen Day conference in London. She is one of the judges for Dezeen Awards 2020.

About Forward Festival

Based in Vienna and founded in 2014, Forward Festival runs conferences for creatives in Vienna, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin. The conference, the centrepiece of the festival, is accompanied by various side events, such as workshops, live art sessions and networking events.

Past speakers at the festival include Oliviero Toscani, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, Kate Moross, Erik Spiekermann, David Carson and MoMA New York. The next edition of the festival will take place on 8-9 October 2020.

About Virtual Design Festival

Virtual Design Festival, the world's first digital design festival, runs from 15 April to 30 June 2020. It is a platform that will bring the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

VDF will host a rolling programme of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches and more, complementing and supporting fairs and festivals around the world that have had to be postponed or cancelled and it will provide a platform for design businesses, so they can, in turn, support their supply chains.