Today I did a presentation of the lab for a group of visiting people with a marked interest in the technology side of things. When preparing the presentation I realized that I most often do not go into great depth as far as the technology is concerned. It was fun thinking about technical setup in this way again. Of course the technology is an integral part of the lab and often difficult to separate from content, use and vision. I tried to bring things together with a more pronounced technology focus than I normally have. It is kind of obvious that the technology is important to HUMlab (for anyone who has been in the lab at least) but I really think it is worth stressing the importance of the technological setup, access to technology, willingness to experiment, combining making and thinking, and having a technology-rich studio space (where technology does not merely become an object of study or a tool).
We take great care thinking about the integration of technology into our environment and it is something I personally find extremely important. You need to pay attention to the wholeness of the lab and to seemingly small things. For instance, We/I have always been concerned about the noise level of the equipment we buy. That is why we have quite a few sound-proof boxes. Right now we are looking into buying new PC workstations and we recently borrowed a computer to check the noise level of it. The computer we borrowed had a very good professional video card card installed and it was rather noisy (to say the least). Since this is such an important issue we bought a card of the type that we intend to use with the new workstations, and yesterday we tested it with the borrowed computer and the difference was remarkable. This is also a good video card but much more silent. Finding that out made me happy but also the process of taking the old card out, installing the new one, testing etc. (admittedly I did not do everything myself – my colleagues in the lab did most of the work).