Ambient technologies such as smartphones create novel environmental references between people, nature and technology. The Laboratory of Media Ecology (LME) at the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg examines these structures, in theory and practice, in the form of experimental setups and text work.
What is your lab called and where is it?
Our lab is called Media Ecology Lab (LME) and is situated at Offenburg University in Germany.
What sorts of projects and activities form the core of your work? Is there a specific temporal or technological focus for your lab?
In our work we focus on artistic research in the context of the media ecological discourse. As media is embedded in specific social, spatial and narrative situation the context matters and creates diverse entanglements that we explore. We try to consider technology not as an end in itself.
The focus of the LME is on space installations, interactive film, 360° video and performing arts. Through the mediation of theoretical and practical foundations from the fields of media art, media science, media informatics, media phenomenology, graphics programming and physical computing, we support and accompany student explorations. Depending on the application field, sensor data from the immediate environment, data from the internet or generative values are used.
Who uses the lab? Is it a space for students, for researchers, for seminars?
The LME is intensively used by our students and researchers. We also use it as an experimental framework during our interdisciplinary conferences in the fields of media, somatics, dance and philosophy. The purpose of our use of technology is speculative and aiming at the exploration of our senses.
How does it feel?” is a leading question.
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)?
Interactive media installations, interactive webdocumentaries, 360° video and sound apps, smartphone apps, articles, books, videos. The development of the applications is accompanied by a media phenomenological approach, in order to explore the designed ecologies artistically. The focus is on questioning the meshwork of storytelling, transmediality and interaction.
Tell us about your infrastructure. Do you have a designated space and how does that work?
Besides Adobe CC we are mainly using Max/MSP/Jitter, processing, klynt and WondaVR. We have several 360° cameras and a surround sound panel of 8 Genlecs, Oculus Rift and Google VR. The LME is closely intertwined with our TV studio, the sound and video lab of the faculty.
What sorts of support does the lab receive?
Mainly government and institutional grants.
What are your major theoretical touchstones?
Jakob v. Uexküll, Marshall McLuhan, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Serres, Bruno Latour, Graham Harman.
What would you say is the lab’s most significant accomplishment to date?
The current artistic research projects BUZZ (2014/15) and WASTELAND (2016/17).
Could you briefly describe your plans for the lab over the next 3-5 years?
After setting up a high tech and expensive lab called “Media Synthesis Lab” (MSL) at Furtwangen University I deliberatley want to work with mobile and consumer technology – made good experiences with that.
What makes your lab a lab?
The people, the encounters, technical devices, books and a faulty coffee machine.