Virtual Lab, Virtual Worlds

HUMlab is somewhat ‘virtual’ at the moment with major construction going on in and around the lab. Yesterday I ran into several of the HUMlab staff gathered around a table in the Humanities building having coffee. We seem to be a bit homeless at the moment with the lab closed and the afternoon fika (coffee break) gathering is a ritual that has had to find a new (temporary) home. It will be great when the new floor is laid in the lab, and then the major expansion is the next thing to look forward to.
The Director of HUMlab, Patrik Svensson was quoted in an article in today’s Dagens Nyheter on the scientific research potential of 3D virtual worlds. The article (in Swedish) is HERE. It gives a Swedish perspective, which is very engaged generally with online virtual environments, on an article that appears in the latest edition of Science. The Science article, entitled The Scientific Research Potential of Virtual Worlds is available online as a PDF and as the Full Text.

tile waiting

The lab is still undergoing reconstruction, and right now, everyone seems to be on holiday. Hopefully the floor in the in present lab will be finished next week.

A few mixed things while we are waiting:

The virtual world timeline project is progressing. Have a look here. If you are interested in participating, please contact me or Bruce Damer.

Two new and interesting MIT books: Ian Bogost’s Persuasive Games: The expressive power of videogames and Tarleton Gillespie’s Wired Shut: Copyright and the shape of digital culture.

Matt told me yesterday about Michael Shank’s class Ten Things.

This course explores the connections between science, technology, society and culture by looking at ten things. It takes an historical and anthropological perspective, going back to the earliest stone tools and tracking their genealogical connection with contemporary high-tech design in order to think outside the box. Tracking the design of these ten things takes us through an interdisciplinary mix that includes archaeology, cultural anthropology, science studies, the history and sociology of technology, cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, the fine and applied arts.

The course covers a range of disciplinary fields and will include readings from actor network theory (Callon and Latour), British cultural studies (Raymond William and after, the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies), material culture studies (archaeology and anthropology, British and French traditions), anthropologies of science, new sociologies of technology (Donald Mackenzie, John Law) cognitive science (from cognitive evolution to human factors research in design, from Leroi-Gourhan to Don Norman).

As Tarleton notes, these summary comments are great. I have had the pleasure of talking to Michael and his group about some of the coursework they do there, and much of it seems innnovative – and not least fun.

More about books: There is some blogging about upcoming books (again MIT). I am looking forward to Matthew Kirschenbaum’s Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Matthew reports that he has managed to recategorize the book from TK to P. Jill Walker Rettberg tells us that their World of Warcraft Reader is in copyediting now. Here is some more information about the book (which looks quite interesting).

And to mention a book that is not MIT: Erik Stolterman recommends Peter-Paul Verbeek’s What Things Do. I just got it, and will take it with me on a short trip I am doing this weekend. Verbeek’s work looks interesting.

new issue of Human IT

A new issue of Human IT has just been published. Human IT is a multidisciplinary, scholarly journal which publishes new research and discussion on digital media as communicative, aesthetic, and ludic instruments. It is published by the University College of Borås.

Table of contents:

Anneli Sundqvist
Guest editorial: Electronic Records: An Introduction

David Brolin
Den digitala hammarens filosof: Vilém Flusser-introduktion på svenska [The Philosopher of the Digital Hammer: An Introduction in Swedish to Vilém Flusser] (Review)

Lars Ilshammar
When Computers Become Dangerous: The Swedish Computer Discourse of the 1960s (Refereed Section)

Electronic Records:

Else Hansen
Ny viden Рgamle id̩er: Elektroniske registre i den danske centraladministration [New Knowledge РOld Ideas: Electronic registers in the Danish Central Administration] (Open Section)

Kenneth Hänström
Autenticitet i en digital värld: Långsiktsbevarande av allmänna handlingar [Authenticity in a Digital World: Long Term Preservation of Public Records] (Open Section)

Karin Wagner
Internet Art and the Archive (Open Section)

Pauline Singh, Jane E. Klobas & Karen Anderson Information Seeking Behaviour of Electronic Records Management Systems (ERMS) Users. Implications for Records Management Practices (Refereed Section)

HASTAC videos

There is now a video archive on the HASTAC website. A great resource. I particularly recommend the streams from the Electronic Techtonics conference, April 2007. – including “The Social Life of Learning in the Net Age” (John Seely Brown), “Global Interfaces, Intimate Interfaces and the Interface between Art and Technology” (Rebecca Allen) and a panel discussion on “The Foundations and Futures of Digital Humanities”. The quicktime streams seem to work better in Firefox than IE (at least on my computers).