The Lab Book

Situated Practices in Media Studies

by Darren WershlerLori EmersonJussi Parikka

Despite their sudden visibility due to the burgeoning of the digital humanities, media labs have a surprisingly long history. As part of the historical avant-gardes, media arts labs were the sites where the new materials and aesthetics of technical modernity were developed. They often share a common ideology, tied not just to the neoliberal drive to privatize, innovate and disrupt, but to long-standing modernist ideas about creative destruction, quantification and the value of scientificity. The Lab Book will thoroughly document and explicate this significant cultural force.

Background photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash

A Glossary of Lab Techniques—Extending The Lab Book

What techniques help to constitute the hybrid lab? What techniques perform and produce the lab’s real and imaginary, active and collective forms of doing, knowing, making, and unmaking?

The final chapter of The Lab Book provides an initial but incomplete catalog of nine techniques: 3D printing, collaborating, collecting, dis/assembling, experimenting, failing, living labs, prototyping, and testing. But what other terms would help to reflect the diverse practices of laboratories around the globe? In order to grow the catalog and help lab communities across the disciplines to reflect their own conditions of knowledge production, we want to to extend the existing glossary.

Starting immediately, we invite all interested scholars to submit proposals for texts of 500–1,000 words on other lab techniques, particularly those relevant to their own lab-based practice. Proposals need only include 2–3 sentences or bullet points explaining what technique you are proposing, how you will write about it in relation to labs, and why it's important. These texts will contribute to an open and collective resource that we hope will enable the production of academic, para-academic, and non-academic knowledge in a wide range of labs. All contributions will be clearly attributed and hosted on the University of Minnesota Press’s Manifold platform.

Please contact Lori Emerson, Darren Wershler, and Jussi Parikka with your proposal for a term.

Recent Activity

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    Situated Practices in Media Studies

  • twitter community, we are looking for reviewers for #thelabbook - if you'd like to write a review & have a journal…

  • Text Added

    Introduction: Everything is a Lab

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    Chapter 6: Lab Techniques

  • LAB KILL LAB proposes a lab concept that permits a well-defined working lab the possibility to be renewed, substitu…

  • Arts Labs, 1960s. #TheLabBook


Draft Chapters

These texts showcase chapters from the pre-print manuscript. The final version of record is now available and can be accessed above or by clicking this link.


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  • publisher
    University of Minnesota Press
  • publisher place
    Minneapolis, MN
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    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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    The University of Minnesota Press gratefully acknowledges the generous support provided for the publication of this book by a Eugene M. Kayden Research Grant from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    Copyright 2022 by Darren Wershler, Lori Emerson, and Jussi Parikka
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    Darren Wershler, Lori Emerson, and Jussi Parikka
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