"@" symbol added to MoMA's Dept. of Architecture and Design collection

"@" was an under-used almost vestigial character on typewriter keyboards until Ray Tomlinson - the guy that invented email - "chose the @ for his first e-mail because of its strong locative sense—an individual, identified by a username, is @ this institution/computer/server, and also because…it was already there, on the keyboard, and nobody ever used it."

As the curator notes, the acquisition of "@" "relies on the assumption that physical possession of an object as a requirement for an acquisition is no longer necessary, and therefore it sets curators free to tag the world and acknowledge things that “cannot be had”—because they are too big (buildings, Boeing 747’s, satellites), or because they are in the air and belong to everybody and to no one, like the @—as art objects befitting MoMA’s collection."

Read the full article, which includes a brief history of @.

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