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It’s easy to poke fun at some of the tics and tropes that have come to define TED over the course of its 32 years of “spreading ideas that matter.” But the fact remains that TED has had an enormous impact and the TED stage is one of the world’s leading communications and innovation platforms, now fully global, interconnected with a multiplicity of television, radio, and web-based channels, and followed by audiences that number in the
 
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- April 24, 2017

Here’s a gem from the archives that is more than worthy of your attention: the televisual translation of the Fiore/McLuhan/Agel experimental paperback The Medium is the Massage, courtesy of McGraw-Hill “text films,” several Pennsylvania libraries, and Internet Archive. It’s a prescient piece of cybernetic pop, starring McLuhan qua new media oracle, circa 1970. Aside from the psychedelic lighting and special effects, it’s the excitement with which the words electric and electronic are pronounced that holds
 
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- April 13, 2017

Printing was never monolithic as a technology. Over the course of its history, it has been employed in the service of producing everything from nimble playing cards designed to last for months to hulking tomes destined for millennia of consultation. And within the ever shifting universe of print, books have routinely been perceived as too available or unavailable, too large or small, too cheap or luxurious. This pendulum of concerns, inflected by transformations in the media
 
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- January 7, 2017

This past spring marked the release of the Inventory Press expanded reprint edition of Maurice Stein and Larry Miller’s Blueprint for Counter Education, one of the defining works of radical pedagogy of the Vietnam War era. First published in 1970, integrated into the Critical Studies curriculum at CalArts (where the authors served as deans and faculty), the original work was accompanied by posters intended to serve as a portable learning environment for a do-it-yourself, process-based model of
 
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- September 1, 2016

On April 9, 2016, BZ ’18-’45 was awarded a “special commendation” in the Council of Europe and European Museum Forum’s European Museum of the Year competition. The award specifies that it was granted for an “exhibition that reintegrates a controversial monument, which has long served as the focal point of battles over politics, culture, and regional identity. The project is a highly courageous and professional initiative to promote humanism, tolerance, and democracy.” For fully three years I
 
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- April 18, 2016

In the wake of this summer’s Beautiful Data workshop, held at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the Harvard Art Museums, the metaLAB core team gathered together for a weekend retreat in Woodstock, Vermont. The occasion was intended as an opportunity to reflect on our first four years of work together and to craft a revised mission statement that better reflects our sense of: a) how we fit into the larger universe of experimental practice
 
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- December 31, 2015

As many friends are aware, since June 2015 I have been leading a new venture that seeks to pioneer smart approaches to the mobility of people and things: Piaggio Fast Forward. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near MIT and Harvard, the startup is a development partner of the Piaggio Group, the largest European manufacturer of two-wheel motor vehicles and one of the world leaders in its sector. The Piaggio Group product range includes e-bikes, scooters, and
 
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- October 9, 2015

The Boston showing of metaLAB’s documentary/web documentary COLD STORAGE at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design took place in early February of this year, but we are now preparing for the film’s European premiere in Paris. The presentation will take place at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, September 30, in the Petit Auditorium, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Quai François Mauriac, within the setting of the conference Vers une littérature mondiale à l’heure du numérique?. The
 
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- September 16, 2015

In their celebrated 1972 critique of modernist architecture, LEARNING FROM LAS VEGAS, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown summoned architects, designers, planners, and policy makers to learn from what, at the time, seemed like the most improbable of urban models: the Las Vegas Strip. Of course, learning from Las Vegas meant more than simply scrutinizing the Strip or appreciating it as a work of Pop Art. It meant reappraising the top-down ideology of modern(ist) urban
 
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- March 31, 2015

After several iterations of the Library Test Kitchen design studio (including a detour to SXSW), the publication of The Library Beyond the Book (whose final chapter assumes the form of a screenplay), and a spring 2014 Humanities Studio dedicated to analyzing, mapping, documenting, and interpreting the Harvard Depository, metaLAB is pleased to announce the Boston premiere of its documentary/web documentary COLD STORAGE on February 6 at 3:30 pm in Piper Auditorium at Harvard’s Graduate School
 
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- January 6, 2015

One of the major outputs from metaLAB’s 2014 summer Getty workshop has now become available in pdf: a “field guide” to working with collections data sets. Developed by the entire metaLAB team and, in particular, our interns Laura Mitchell (editor) and Ebru Boyaci (designer), the field guide documents the concepts and flows of information that came out of the workshop, linking critical discussion with invitations to experimentation and making. Using a range of modes, including
 
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- September 23, 2014

BZ ’18-’45 was inaugurated on July 21, 2014 in the presence of the Italian minister of culture Dario Franceschini. Built around the crypt that lies beneath Marcello Piacentini’s 1926-1928 Monument to Victory, it consists in a center documenting the turbulent history of Bolzano and the Alto Adige region between the ends of World War I and World War II. BZ ’18-’45‘s subtitle is: one monument / one city / two dictatorships (see the gif below crafted by my collaborators at
 
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- July 23, 2014

A few weeks back, the self-described “independent scholar and business analyst living in Los Angeles,” James Pulizzi, rose to defend Adam Kirsch’s thin polemical takedown of digital humanities on the pages of the New Republic‘s online edition. As in the case of Kirsch’s piece, the authors of Digital_Humanities felt that it was important to respond and we have done so in the form of Printed Books are Vital. We are grateful to the New Republic
 
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- June 18, 2014

In the May 12, 2014 online edition of the New Republic, the co-authors of Digital_Humanities and I replied to Adam Kirsch’s recent piece: “Technology is Taking over English Departments: The False Promise of the Digital Humanities” under the heading Disputations. The aim of the response was not only to correct some factual inaccuracies, but to emphasize the fundamental ways in which technology lies within, not outside, the scope of humanistic inquiry (irrespective of whether the
 
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- May 12, 2014

Every now and then metaLAB holds a public event to showcase some work in progress, hack a device or two, resuscitate a multimedia piece or two from the vaults, and to start up some fresh conversations. In the past, such openLAB events have featured social games that make creative use of thermal receipt printers, Kinect-based gestural systems for remixing tracks on vintage vinyl recordings, an Arduino-armed book as an interface for navigating libraries. What’s an
 
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- April 30, 2014

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© 2014 Jeffrey Schnapp