Computational Media, Arts & Cultures represents a collection of related activities at Duke University. Originating in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and the Mellon-supported Visual Studies Initiative, CMAC has evolved to include various graduate programs and collaborative research initiatives. These include an MA track in Computational Media within the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, a Graduate Certificate offered by the Information Science + Studies Program, and an interdisciplinary PhD program co-sponsored by Art, Art History & Visual Studies, the Literature Program, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Information Science + Studies.
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
Media Labs & Groups
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 Media Labs in the Department look 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 humanities 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.
The CMAC Extended Reality (XR) Studio is a collaborative lab and workspace for CMAC (Computational Media, Arts & Cultures), ISS (Information Science + Studies), and Wired! Digital Art History & Visual Culture faculty, staff, and students interested in computational media in relation to physical computing, 3D imaging and printing, photogrammetry and mapping, and immersive interface design, including virtual, mixed, and augmented reality. Access is organized through courses, graduate research practica, workshops, and special projects organized by affiliated faculty and staff, currently including Hannah Jacobs, Matt Kenney, Mark Olson, Victoria Szabo, Ed Triplett, Augustus Wendell, and Dave Zielinski, and members of the cross-campus Visualization and Interactive Systems Group.
Director: Maurizio Forte, Classical Studies and Art, Art History & Visual Studies
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 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.
Director: Victoria Szabo, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS) 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
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.
The Visual Media Lab maintains a continuously expanding collection of over 200,000 digital images and a 35mm slide archive of cultural heritage objects that support the daily teaching and ongoing research of the faculty and graduate students. The lab also provides instruction in digitization and image editing, digital asset management, metadata best practices, project management, and intellectual property rights. The scan lab provides two oversized flatbed scanners, a dedicated film scanner, and photo-quality ink-jet printer.