IS+S mission is to study and create new information technologies and to analyze their impact on art, culture, science, commerce, society, policy, and the environment. IS+S helps students fill the gap between current academic training and the increasing demand in all professions for a broad understanding of the legal, social, philosophical, computational, and aesthetic issues concerning information technology and other related innovations. The program's integrated curriculum combines topics and practices including information management; photonics and visualization; multimedia design; issues of security, privacy, and property; and the history of science and technology.
The IS+S Lab functions as a central organizational node in the larger network of research at Duke University by encouraging and initiating new interdisciplinary research collaborations in the pervasive fields information science and information studies. Key areas include:
Data Visualization and Network Analysis
Digital Mapping, Augmented Reality, and Mobile Applications
Information Fluency and Ethics
Media and Information Design and Development
Physical Computing Applications
Serious Games, Virtual Worlds, and Simulations
Technology-Enriched Pedagogy and Social Practice
Transdisciplinary Media Arts and Cultures
The conditions for knowledge production in today’s global world have been fundamentally altered by the computational revolution. From experimental practices in the sciences to research methodologies in the humanities, knowledge has come increasingly to depend on the gathering and analysis of large aggregates of data that in some crucial ways cannot be understood or manipulated without the assistance of sophisticated computational methodologies, new forms of visualization and media technologies.
The Program in Media Arts + Sciences at Duke looks to integrate multi-modal inquiry, including computational design, data analysis and new media art, with scholarly investigation at the interface of the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences. As scholars in both the traditional and the digital humanities, we have understood that computational media has profoundly transformed the research paradigms and epistemology of the humanities and the many disciplines it affects.
Media Arts + Sciences has a university-wide reach with an infrastructure that now include nine fully operational, experimental, and interdisciplinary labs and groups in Smith Warehouse, Bays 10-11. The MA+S labs consist of:
Complex Systems Computing Lab
Director: Nicholas Gessler, IS+S
The Complex Systems team explores artificially evolved multi-agent worlds through computer simulations. This provides new insight into describing, understanding and explaining the complex causal web of biological and cultural processes that make us human. This project extends the trajectory that began with artificial life and artificial society towards a creative and critical practice of artificial culture.
The lab name recalls the main goal of this research lab, which is “digging for information,” looking for new interpretations at the intersection of archaeology, cybernetics, cultural heritage, computer science, neuroscience, cognitive science, art, and history. The lab is interested in investigating how the information is shaped, elaborated, stored and then culturally transmitted by different societies, with a focus on ancient civilizations.
The DALMI project will yield previously unavailable information about the economic, cultural and legal forces and factors that drive and influence the art market broadly defined. This initiative will study large aggregates of data to map clusters of buyers, areas, price series, auction results and clusters of characteristics that buyers project in art, whether or not intended by the maker
The Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE) came on-line in 2006 representing the fourth 6-sided CAVE-like system in the United States. The DiVE is a 3m x 3m x 3m stereoscopic rear projected room with head and hand tracking and real time computer graphics. All six surfaces – the four walls, the ceiling and the floor – are used as screens onto which computer graphics are displayed. The DiVE offers a fully immersive experience to the user, who literally walks into the virtual world.
The focus of the Emergence Lab team has been on the creation of generative works of art that include many different media elements and processes — generative music, generative text, generative image as drawn from a database; experimental computer based music; and more recently a generative system to aid in research.
Information Science + Studies (IS+S) began at Duke in 2002 as part of a university effort to consider the ways in which the digital revolution is transforming teaching and learning and society at large. Its mission is to study and create new information technologies and to analyze their impact on art, culture, science, commerce, society and the environment.
The S-1 research team uses biometric and environmental sensing technologies to expand our access to sensory experience beyond the five senses. Their work is informed by the premise that digital technologies have opened new vistas for accessing and conceptualizing our robust embodied contact with the sensory environments in which we live.
Through education and training programs, the creation and management of visualization facilities and advanced visualization research, the Visualization & Interactive Systems (VIS) group promotes the use of visualization and virtual reality technologies for improved understanding of scientific data and human cognition.
Wired! Historical and Cultural Visualization Lab
Core Team: Caroline Bruzelius, Sheila Dillon, Mark Olson, Victoria Szabo, Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Post-doctoral Associate: Kristin Huffman Lanzoni; IT Analyst: Hannah Jacobs
The Wired! Group at Duke brings digital visualization to the fields of art, architectural history and urban history though a number of research and teaching initiatives. Wired! courses fuse technologies with the study of sculpture, architecture, urbanism and painting in order to prepare our students for the 21st century.