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What Is A Media Lab?

situated practices in media studies

Month / April 2017

An Interview with Daniel Fetzner of the Laboratory of Media Ecology

Ambient technologies such as smartphones create novel environmental references between people, nature and technology. In the Laboratory of Media Ecology (LME) at the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, we examine these structures in theory and practice in the form of experimental setups and text work. 1)   What is your lab called and where is it? Our […]

An interview with Neal White of the Office of Experiments

Neal White runs the Office of Experiments that is a research platform that “works in the expanded field of contemporary art.” The Office employs methods of fieldworks and works with a range of partners including scientists, academics, activists and enthusiasts, and described as exploring “issues such as time, scale, control, power, cooperation and ownership, highlighting and […]

An Interview with Jason Nanna of the Synchroton Media Research Laboratory

I run the Synchroton Media Research Laboratory, located in Milwaukee, WI USA.  It is augmented by the Geographical Research Unit, a nomadic dwelling and testbed for alternative living and my personal R&D/performance activities. At its core I view one of the primary roles of the SMRL is as an extra-institutional research/collaboration center for projects and […]

An Interview with Emmanuel Guez at PAMAL Lab, Avignon, France

1) PAMAL [Preservation & Art – Media Archaeology Lab] is probably the first media archaeology lab in France – what makes it a media archaeology lab and what are the sorts of projects and activities that form the core of your activities? Is there a specific temporal or technological focus for your Lab or what forms […]

An Interview with Bernard Perron, Guillaume Roux-Girard and Carl Therrien at Ludiciné Lab, Université de Montréal

1)   What is your lab called and where is it?
Our lab is called the Ludiciné Lab, and is located in the Department of Arts History and Films Studies at Université de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada). You can find the basic information about our installations and collection (70+ platforms, 3500+ games) under the “L” at <www.ludov.ca>

2)   What sorts of projects and activities form the core of your work? Is there a specific temporal or technological focus for your lab?
The primary focus of the lab is to support pedagogical activities such as classes and seminars provided within the undergraduate Minor in game studies as well as the Master degree with an option in game studies. The lab also supports research projects such as the «Video game genres and discourse communities» project conducted by the Ludov team (supervised by Bernard Perron, Dominic Arsenault, and Carl Therrien), and the «History of the game experience» project (supervised by Carl Therrien). Acquisitions reflect the needs of our classes and projects, which focus on technological, formal, psychological and aesthetic properties of video games and game playing, and the evolution of these dimensions in history. Game boxes, magazines and other epi/paratextual elements are also collected and made accessible.

3)   Who uses the lab? Is it a space for students, for researchers, for seminars?
All of the above, but it is mainly used by students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

4)   What sorts of knowledge does the lab produce (writing, demonstrations, patents etc.) and how is it circulated (e.g. conference papers, pamphlets, books, videos, social media)?
The lab is a great space to host internal presentations for Ludov related research projects. It will also host game demonstrations for students in the upcoming semesters. The creation and objectives of the lab have been the subject of conference papers, and its role in the production of knowledge is always acknowledged in the journal papers published by members of the research teams. More information about these contributions can be found on the pages for each research project, under the “O” (for “observation”) at <www.ludov.ca>.

5)   Tell us about your infrastructure. Do you have a designated space and how does that work?

Yes, we indeed have a designated space. The first small space we had was redesigned in the Summer of 2013. It is divided between a play space, and a storage room where the material is kept, filed and maintained. We now have around 15 play stations (HD, PC, Retro and Emulation). We are open 16 hours per week. We hire two undergraduate students per semester to prepare the playing materiel for the students. The latter reserve online the day before their visit.

6)   What sorts of support does the lab receive? (e.g. government grants, institutional grants, private donors)
All the support comes from university funding, more specifically from the Arts and Sciences Faculty. It was based on a 5-year development plan. After this, we’ll need to be more creative. However, we also had a lot of donations from students and private collectors. Video games companies such as Warner Bros. and Ubisoft Montréal have sent us some of their games. Professors also use their own research funds (from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Fonds Société et culture of Québec) to add to the collection.

7)   What are your major theoretical touchstones?
Video game history, media archeology, genre studies, paratextual studies. The Lab is an ideal resource to develop case studies of specific platforms, studios or games.

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