Monday, August 21, 2006

Less New Build Space

The DIRN Workshop Has Begun:
Patrik Svensson, the director of Humlab, is talking about digital humanities in his keynote lecture, and how digital media transform the humanities and the social sciences.
Maria Wåhlström Bäcke of Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona is live blogging the Digital Interaction Research Network Workshop at Humlab in Umeå. Director Patrik Svensson's suggestion that "altered spaces might be more interesting and dynamic than some of the newly built and perhaps rather sterile ones built specifically for working with digital technology" is interesting, perhaps primarily because I've always worked in reclaimed spaces, and whenever I've been involved in the development of new spaces the process has been over-complicated by the competing demands of the influential and highly-paid partners that such projects inevitably attract. I don't think it impossible to build excellent digital spaces from scratch, but there's something very appealing about reclaiming and reinterpreting spaces. I've been told that I'm particularly good at thinking about the use of space, and I've been lucky enough to work with colleagues like Michael Priddy who's excellent at planning things like cabling and networking, so maybe I'm biased. I'm with Svensson though; an unwanted existing space will beat a new build in terms of cost, time and convenience anyday. Maybe the constraints of an inherited building are just what you need to be creative, and nothing kills a muse like staring at a blank canvas.

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