Monday, August 21, 2006

The DIRN Workshop Has Begun

Patrik Svensson, the director of Humlab, is talking about digital humanities in his keynote lecture, and how digital media transform the humanities and the social sciences. He gives us a number of primarily American examples like TechnoSpheres and Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities. Svensson stresses the importance of focussing on Cyberinfrastructure, since this touches on some of the core issues for us as PhD candidates working with digital media in any form. Another link he mentions is Hastac - Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory.

Svensson gives us examples of cyberinfrastructure in terms of the construction of physical space while working with digital space. One example he shows us is the ACTLab at Texas University, Austin. Another is HUMLab where we are right now. This is a room where students used to take tests, and Svensson jokingly says that: "Pain is inscribed in the walls." But in its Humlab form, this space has been transformed completely. It still has some features that can't be taken away, but these element (like the pillars) are used to hide cables or build "islands" around. He shows us how the cyberinfrastructure is applied in a creative way, simply because they had to adapt to the conditions already there. He suggests that these altered spaces might be more interesting and dynamic than some of the newly built and perhaps rather sterile ones built specifically for working with digital technology.

Another use for cyberinfrastructure - on a more individual level - comes up in his example of the artist Linda Bergkvist (the "queen of digital art" as she is called in the local press). He describes how she needs the bandwidth, the programmes and the processing power — the cyberinfrastructure — to create. Svensson stresses the importance of the structure needed to allow for these types of ventures...


Robert Sharl said...

I'd love to hear more about Bergkvist's ideas.. it sounds like they might be relevant to some of the things I'm doing on Creative Supercomputing.

Mia said...

Yes, I think what she does might be in line with things you're doing. Unfortunately, Patrik didn't say that much about her, but we could explore what she's doing... :)