An exhibition presented in HUMlab-X between 7th to the 8th of November.
The artists Malin Tivenius and Ylva Westerhult, have collaborated in the project Anti-Atlas. The project was granted aid from Kulturskjutsen and was part of the program Umeå Capital of Culture in 2014. The piece was as displayed in the exhibition based on an artistic exploration of meetings of the geographical triangle Algeciras, Gibraltar, Tangier. Here Africa and Europe meets, different cultures and religions. In a very limited geographic area three different nations with significantly different identities meet: Spain, UK and Morocco. Two oceans, Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet in the Strait of Gibraltar. On a clear day you can see Africa clearly visually from Gibraltar. It is also one of the European Union’s external borders and the meeting between the richer and in the moment of currently less well-off region. The physical distance between Africa and Europe is short.

Litterature often use images of landscapes to tell interior human condition. The visual image of the Strait of Gibraltar reflects well the historical and current charging around the place. In the exhibition  at HUMlab-X the environments and landscapes became the medium for personal consideration of how the boundaries are clear, while the relaxed by different cultural expressions moving across geographic territories.

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2014 Eduplay Challenge in HUMlab-X!

Eduplay Challenge is an initiative that challenges teachers to gamify their teaching. During the fall of 2014 Eduplay Challenge is offering teachers of Västerbotten a creative method support for the schools to learn to use game mechanics and game design thinking in class.

During the fall of 2014, Eduplay Challenge has invited teachers in Västerbotten to participate in workshops and seminars on game based learning, many of them taking place at HUMlab-X.  Finaly, the workshops and seminars will lead up to a 24h ”Game Based Learning Hack” where teachers will be allowed to create educational games together with professional artists and developers.

Eduplay Challenge events held in HUMlab-X:

”Game concept development workshop”
Carl-Erik Engqvist
Date: October 9, Time: 6-9 pm
Venue: HUMlab-X

Carl-Erik Engqvist is an artist and artistic leader working at HUMlab and Kulturverket. Among other things, he works with concept development and game production related to culture pedagogical projects.

The workshop will concern understanding and working with games as learning tools, as ways of thinking and as modes of engagement into exploring, reifying and concretise questions regarding power and empathy.

”Games to reach goals and knowledge in school”
Felix Gyllenstig Serrao
Date: October 23, Time: 2-4 pm
Venue: HUMlab-X

Felix Gyllenstig Serrao is first teacher in Gothenburg. He also runs the blog Spelläraren ( where he writes about how you can use games in pedagogy in teaching. The blog has been acknowledged in media several times and Felix is an often seen guest in SVT and Radio. He also runs a project with Minecraft classes where he teaches other teachers how to use Minecraft as a tool in the classroom.

How can school use games to reach goals and knowledge? How do you make school more exciting and fun? Felix will share his experiences and show actual examples of games in classrooms and what pedagogical models he uses when he creates classes with a game focus. He will also discuss what distinguishes a good game from a bad when it comes to learning.

The 2014 Eduplay Hackaton

October 27-28, 24 hrs starting at 5 pm October 27.
Read all about the event at:


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change in HUMlab leadership

Effective from July 1, 2014, I stepped down as the director of HUMlab. This is a most undramatic shift – a regular change in academic leadership – but given that I have had a rather long tenure, it may be worth making a few comments. The reason for my stepping down is that I have so many other responsibilities, not least as Chair of Digital Humanities (funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation) and in relation to some university projects, externally funded projects and international networks, and that I want to spend more time on research, being in the lab and taking some of our research and development activities further. I will finish coordinating some of the infrastructural installations underway. Also, many of the things I set out to achieve have been achieved, and seeing HUMlab moving towards another phase (we now have two fully set up labs, 25 employees, 10 new Ph.D. students in different disciplines with a digital inflection, 10+ external projects with partners etc.) with new challenges, it makes sense to shift leadership. Also, much of the operation is  carried out on a daily basis by a large group of amazingly competent staff and faculty. I am most eager to continue working with everyone!

I am very happy that Cecilia Lindhé, literary scholar with a long experience in the digital humanities and earlier as assistant director of HUMlab, is the new director (appointed by the Faculty of Arts).


Cecilia’s work is fantastic and she has strong leadership qualities and the two of us (and the people in the lab) share a vision of what HUMlab is and can be in the future. I am eager to follow how she (together with the team) will choose to develop HUMlab as a platform. There is great potential ahead and much exciting work to be done, and I am looking forward to being part of it (although in a different capacity)!

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Guest Bloggger: Oliver Bendorf

HowtoGettoHUMLab2Oliver Bendorf is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and teacher, currently living in Madison, Wisconsin. He holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now earning an MA in Library and Information Studies. His book of poems, The Spectral Wilderness, is forthcoming from Kent State University Press. In March, he participated in the HUMlab workshop: Digital gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice

“Digital Gender, like any good event, quickly became much more than just the workshop– it became a state of mind; a method; a movement; #DG. There are magical things happening at HUMlab, and it’s not just the baked goods, though those are plentiful and certainly don’t hurt. HUMlab is hi-tech but not at the expense of coziness– think touch screen floors under a plush rug, bean bags and our live-tweets projected onto yet another screen — and this to me seems one possibility of the digital humanities: that they are ultimately about the human if they are to matter at all.

I arrived at Digital Gender with hand-painted slides, or scans thereof, of my initial research questions into the trans-digital hand. My fellow workshoppers’ projects and feedback fueled and inspired me to continue with this research, and cracked open my sense of possibility for what it might mean to “do” and “think” digital gender.

From Micha Cárdenas‘ very first invitation to us to breath, to Nishant Shah‘s suggestion of the USB as the “universal slutty being” for how we swap and share digitally, to Lewis Webb‘s and Anna Foka‘s historicizing of digital “slut-shaming” and gender on-screen, Carl-Eric Engkvist‘s workshop that had us designing games, and Jenny Sundén‘s virtuality, futurity, and temporality in digital transitioning, Roopika Risam on race in digital feminist spaces, Julienne Corboz on the limits of the digital in gender field work in Afghanistan, Annette Markham on method, remix, resistance, ginger coons with a workshop on on concealing gender in digital spaces, Camilla Hällgren with miniature art as feminist research, Viktor Arvidsson on people and things, people as things, people thinging…

And the best part is that there was more than this, more talks, more ideas, and a pretty excellent archive of it at #digitalgender2014 on Twitter. I peruse the hashtag when I feel the need to tap back into the stream of information and ideas that flowed through HUMlab in March 2014. I think about Digital Gender every day, and can’t wait to get back to HUMlab, but in the meantime I know that digital gender is here and now, as well as then and there, and that the work continues; the possibilities expand outward, always more to breathe, more to share, always more to remix and resist. Thank you HUMlab, Patrik Svensson, Anna Foka, the whole organizing team, and every participant for this Digital Gender state of mind!”

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The Augmented Plateau: Art and Virtual Worlds in HUMlab 2007-2013


10 – 30 April 2014 @ HUMlabX, the Arts Campus at Umeå University, Sweden
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, Noon – 4pm
(17, 18 and 21 April Closed)
Opening: 10 April between 4 – 6 pm

HUMlab is a humanities-led, interdisciplinary digital lab at Umeå University in Sweden. For the last seven years, HUMlab has given support to Second Life artists by hosting their works on SL HUMlab Island for constructions as well as organising exhibitions at HUMlab’s Real-Life multimedia venue.

In 2007-08 Humlab hosted on its Second Life sim Goodwind Seiling’s “N00sphere Playground” for the Virtual Moves exhibition at the National Gallery in Copenhagen. Later, it further supported Avatar Orchestra Metaverse for their constructions and premier performances of “XAANADRuul” and “The Heart of Tones” before providing a home for the Yoshikaze “Up-In-The-Air” virtual artist residency programme in 2010. Since then, HUMlab has been a host for nine Second Life artists in Yoshikaze artist residency as well as one artist talk by Kristine Schomaker on her project “My Life as an Avatar.” The work conducted in HUMlab and Yoshikaze by virtual world artists and creators has led to a number of academic publications and conference presentations and also resulted in two self-published artist books. Another outcome of HUMlab’s engagement for the advancement of virtual worlds and art was their assistance in bringing an ambitious mixed-reality project by Goodwind Seiling to fruition. The project “Experimentation #1″ was based on the use of Kinect to control avatar movements and would have been unable to be realised without HUMlab’s support.

This year between 10 April and 30 April, HUMlab and Yoshikaze proudly present a group exhibition with all the artists who have been involved in shaping HUMlab’s engagement in supporting SL artists and their art. This include, besides those mentioned above, Alan Sondheim, Juria Yoshikawa, Garrett Lynch, Selavy Oh, Katerina Karoussos, Fau Ferdinand, Pyewacket Kazyanenko, Oberon Onmura, Alpha Auer, Maya Paris, Eupalinos Ugajin and SaveMe Oh. We would also like to acknowledge the following SL artists for this show: Machinimatographers Marx Catteneo, Mab MacMoragh, Steve Millar, and Evo Szuyuan, as well as Puppeteer Jo Ellsmere. The exhibition takes place at the newly acquired HUMlab-X at the Art Campus of Umeå University. We, who have been working with this project for seven years, would like to thank all the participants. Thanks are also due to the HUMlab technicians, poster makers, and HUMlab director Patrik Svensson.

Sachiko Hayashi (Yoshikaze Curator)
James Barrett (SL Humlab Sim Manager)
Carl-Erik Engqvist (RL HUMlab Artistic Leader)

April 2014

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Guest blogger – Lewis Webb: #DigitalGender2014 @HUMlab – An Australian Story

Lewis Webb
Postgraduate Student, Discipline of Classics, The University of Adelaide.
Assistant Dean, Lincoln College, North Adelaide.

“Provocative. Inspiring.

HUMlab @ Umeå University is a space like no other. It is a digital h(e)aven for artists, activists and academics to meet, debate, and collaborate; it is international, interdisciplinary, and interconnected.

How did I, an Australian postgraduate student, find myself at HUMlab?

It all began with a chance meeting at a conference.


In October 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting HUMlab’s Anna Foka at the University of Adelaide’s Subversion and Censorship Conference 2013, which was convened by Prof. Han Baltussen. Anna and I bonded over our mutual passion for wine, (ancient) women and the digital.

lewisbild1Jakub, Anna, Timothy and I at Eggless Dessert Café, post-conference.

After the conclusion of this conference, Anna spoke with me about HUMlab’s Digital Gender Workshop 2014, an interdisciplinary workshop with the theme of “gender research in the digital sphere”. I was intrigued – what might an ancient historian bring to such an event?

As ancient historians and digital explorers, Anna and I employ diachronic lenses to examine women and the digital; that is, we use a comparative historical approach to explore static and dynamic elements of the female experience over time. I thought I could bring this marriage of the analogue and the digital to the Workshop.

In my research, I explore the experiences of Rome’s women in the Second Punic War (218 – 201 BCE), a conflict that led to major social upheaval in Ancient Rome. During this war, men and women publicly interrogated, criticised and suppressed female sexuality. This ancient suppression of female sexuality in the public sphere finds a modern parallel in the public “slut-shaming” of women in the digital sphere. I decided to produce a paper for the Workshop on these parallels, and, to my delight, the abstract for my paper was accepted.

In Jan/Feb 2014, I began to prepare for my adventure to Sweden. I am forever indebted to Emma Ewadotter, Karin Jangert, and Elin Andersson from HUMlab for their generous assistance and advice during this process (and throughout the Workshop). After a passport was procured, (2 x 26 hour) flights arranged, grants applied for, and accommodation organised, I was ready for Scandinavia.


I arrived in Umeå on Monday 10/3, and I was met by two wonders: snow and Swedish hospitality. After exiting the Umeå Airport terminal, I stood outside, giddy as a child, enjoying the snow. Mid-giddiness, I was met by Anna and Viktor Arvidsson, who bundled me into their car, and drove me to Viktor’s apartment.


Once there, I enjoyed that greatest of Swedish rituals: Fika. This ritual is roughly equivalent to a coffee break, but it includes coffee, pastries and conversation, and is performed multiple times throughout the day.

This ritual seems to be a synecdoche for the Swedish spirit: life is to be shared and reflected upon.

On Tuesday 11/3, Anna gave me a tour of HUMlab at Umeå University, and introduced me to many of the staff and researchers there. The facilities are striking: the spaces are carefully considered, flexible and fluid; technology is organically integrated within.

lewisbild4 lewisbild3HUMlab

Two of HUMlab’s technicians, Jon Svensson and Jim Robertsson, were wonderfully obliging, and they helped me to ready my presentation for the following day. Tak tak!

While at HUMlab, I was fortunate enough to hear from one of the Workshop’s keynote speakers, micha cárdenas, who delivered a pre-Workshop seminar on “Post-digital Media: from the Transreal to Decolonization”. Micha is an artist, activist and theorist who uses hifi/lofi/nofi techniques to explore identity and intersectionality. She spoke about three of her projects: Becoming Dragon; the Transborder Immigrant Tool; and Local Autonomy Networks. Her projects are powerfully mimetic – they capture and reflect complex issues of gender, race and technology.

lewisbild5micha cárdenas teaching us to breathe.

Following this wonderful seminar, Anna took me to the apartment where I was to stay during my time in Sweden. Once there, Karin helped me to orient myself in the neighbourhood, and gave me instructions for decoding the public transport system.

lewisbild6 lewisbild7Apartment at Hagmarksvägen 2.

That evening, while navigating the local shops and restaurants, I learnt the value of the phrases “hej hej” and “tak”. It was surprising how far these simple Swedish phrases got me. I had a delicious Swedish-Italian fusion dinner at Pizzeria-Ristorante Taormina, and spent a significant amount of time rehearsing my presentation for the morrow.

lewisbild8View from the apartment.


Day 1

On Wednesday 12/3, the Digital Gender Workshop was opened at HUMlab by Anna and Prof. Patrik Svensson. We were promised a wonderful programme, colourful debate and copious amounts of fika. I cannot mention all the presentations at this Workshop, but I will explore the ones that resonated with me.

Wednesday started with a keynote address from the wonderful micha, and I was struck by her proposal that the digital is wedded to Western logics, that new media could/should be post-digital, and that embodied movement can act as a pre-/post- digital technology of communication.

Maria Carbin, Eric Carlsson and Anna Croon Fors spoke about their proposal to explore Online Hate Discourses. Their collaboration across gender and media studies seemed thoughtful and timely, given the recent rise in gendered online hatred.

lewisbild9Anna Croon Fors and Maria Carbin.

The marvellous Nishant Shah spoke of slutty digitality, online promiscuity, and stealth computing. He masterfully reinterpreted the USB acronym as “Universal Slutty Being”, and championed the reclamation of the term “slut”.

lewisbild10Nishant Shah and “digital sluts”.

After fika and lunch, I delivered my own presentation entitled “Sexual virtue exposed: ‘Slut-shaming’ in cyberspace and on the streets of Ancient Rome”. I argued that time had not greatly altered the focus of the suppression of female sexuality, but the Internet has vastly increased its scope. I closed by demonstrating that the Internet can be used as a tool for/against this suppression. The feedback I received was wonderful and thought-provoking.

lewisbild11My presentation.

Later that afternoon, the artist/visionary Carl-Erik Engqvist led us in a workshop on Gender and Gamemaker concepts. We were broken into two groups to discuss and develop our games. Our group included Nishant, micha, Jenny Sundén, Annette Markham, Anna Johansson, and myself. We developed a simple game entitled “Drawing It Out”. The premise of this game was that art could be used to build empathy amongst 8-10 year olds around emotions such as fear and anger etc. In our example case, each player drew an image of something that scared them, and the other players then helped to reclaim each image, by adding positive or disempowering elements to the fearful image. The development process for this game was, in and of itself, drawn out, as we all wanted to develop a game that didn’t privilege or disempower individuals from different backgrounds. The rules we developed by the end of the workshop were simple and salient, building on micha’s and Annette’s work with the Theatre of the Oppressed.

lewisbild12Our group presenting “Drawing It Out”.

Day 2

On Thursday 13/3, the second day of the Workshop began. It was held at HUMlab-X, which is situated under the Bildmuseet at Umeå Arts Campus. HUMlab-X is full of screens, including a mind-blowing floor screen and a large screen for presentations. The variety of furniture in the room facilitates different forms of communication and reflection.

lewisbild14 lewisbild13HUMlab-X.

On Thursday morning, Anna spoke about digital representations of gladiatrixes, and proposed that we can evaluate gender in games by assessing the internal and external agency of characters (PCs and NPCs).

After fika, Jenny delivered a presentation entitled “Transdigital, Transgender”, where she explored the temporality of gender and sexuality by examining the transition of a steampunk automaton performer from Rabbit (M) to Bunny (F), and the fan responses to this transition. Jenny envisions transition as movement and re-inscription, and suggests that we could read “the feminine spark in the (Rabbit’s) hardware as a way of imagining and igniting the future differently”.

lewisbild15Jenny Sundén and Annette Markham

Roopika Risam then spoke about how discourses of toxicity have been constructed in online feminism, that this attribution of toxicity is generally ascribed to women of colour, and that hashtags such as #NotYourAsianSidekick have been used as a space for healing in response to these discourses.

After lunch, Oliver Bendorf explored the transgender hand, proposing that it is synecdochic, that it has the potential for agency and betrayal, that it may/may not transition along with a trans person, and that (trans)bodies can be conceived of as integrated circuits.

16Oliver Bendorf and “(trans)bodies”.

Our keynote for the day was delivered by the sublimely animated Annette, with micha “digitally jamming” during the presentation. Annette explored remixing as a metaphor for thinking about thinking, and, controversially claimed that “we don’t need new methods, we need new ways of talking about what we do.”

17Annette Markham and remixing.

On Thursday afternoon, we had a wonderful critical making workshop with ginger coons, where we explored online gender and Turing tests, and asked how we might identify or obscure gender online.

18ginger coons and critical making.

Day 3

Friday 14/3 was the final day of the Workshop, and we were, once again, in HUMlab-X. I was struck, in particular, by two presentations, that of the artist/theorist Camilla Hällgren, and Viktor’s.

Camilla explored art as research and intervention, assessed constructions of “girlhood”, and proposed that crowdsourced identity may be a metaphor for the development of young girls. Camilla uses model train figures in her artwork to explore existential issues through visual contrast; her artwork explores big issues on a small scale, and asks what it might mean to be human in this big world. I was fascinated by her work entitled “A woman’s work is never done II”: it depicted female figures stuffing olives and rolling them towards an olive bowl. I thought it looked positively Sisyphean.

Towards the end of the Workshop, Viktor assessed the concept of a “thing”, and how the doing of things makes us do things in the way we do. He proposed a non-dualistic approach to conceptualising things, drawing on Taoist thinking, and argued that we do not do things through things but with them. Viktor claims that this approach allows us to re-construct what it is to be “human”.

19Viktor Arvidsson “thinging”.

If you’d like to know more about individual presentations, follow the Twitter conversation for the Workshop at #DigitalGender2014.


I spent the remainder of my time in Umeå with Anna and Viktor. They were wonderful hosts, and took me the Rex Bar & Grill, where I had my first taste of reindeer meat (delicious), and to Västerbotten Museum, where I learnt a little more about the Sami people.

20Sami Rock Art at Västerbotten Museum.

On Sunday 16/3, I left Umeå with a strong desire to return.


Several provocative themes emerged from the Digital Gender Workshop:

  • Remixing (the old/new, methodologies, knowledge)
  • Fluidity and Temporality (gender, sexuality)
  • Intersectionality and Transformation (praxis)
  • Post-digital Strategies
  • Debunking Digital/Analogue Dichotomies
  • Art/Activism/Academia as Symbiotic Trinity

The Workshop provoked us to indwell our praxis, to question our digitality, and to abandon our dichotomies.

Such provocations, stemming from interdisciplinary interactions, would not have emerged concomitantly without HUMlab and the demiurgic Anna Foka. Many thanks – tak ad infinitum.


In March 2014, I found myself at HUMlab. I left enriched in heart, mind and friendship.

To remix Julius Caesar: Veni, Vidi, Vixi (I came, I saw, I lived).

21Post-Workshop Collective Selfie!”

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