@ becomes Art - Symbol inducted into MoMA

This isn't an ASCII joke. @ Is now everywhere, and is being used for more and more daily usages from e-mail all the way to Twitter. It has beaten the ampersand (&) and the number sign (#) in terms of relevancy in today's society, and it seems that the Museum of Modern Art has recognized it's importance in today's society not only as a functional symbol, but as a historical piece of art.


The rigorous gauntlet of being inducted into the MoMA is nothing to scoff at. You must go through a whole panel and be approved through several lines of questioning such as 'embodying the value of clarity, honesty, and simplicity that the MoMA embodies', 'has it made an impact in our lives?', and most importantly according to Paola Antonelli, senior curator of Architecture and Design at the MoMA, 'If the object had never been designed or manufactured, would the world miss out even just a bit?"

Needless to say, the @ symbol passed through the MoMA gauntlet with flying colors and will now remain a symbol not only synonymous with geeks, business, and the internet, but with modern art as well.

The @ symbol (Originally the shorthand for the Latin word 'Ad') has been around for quite some time. However, during the late 1800s and the hey-day of typewriting innovations, The Underwood Typewrite Company added the @ symbol on their machines to become shorthand for "At the rate of" or eventually just "At". Once the information age kicked in, the need for the shorthand of "At" was quickly used to link domain names with their users (eg. Geek at Gmail), a usage started by Raymond Tomlinson.

To read more on the topic, visit the New York Times article.

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