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Printed Matter: exploring metaLAB publications


Date: 2020
Location: online
A discussion of metaLAB's singular publications now available from Printed Matter.

We were very pleased to inaugurate our distribution partnership with Printed Matter, one of the oldest and most venerable artist’s bookstores in the US. In a webinar hosted by Printed Matter on January 28th, the metaLAB team showcased the three mL “knowledge objects” now carried by Printed Matter: Curatorial A(I)gents, metaLAB (at) Harvard: Selected Works, and Library Beyond the Book Card Deck. These three publications are physical manifestations of the work within metaLAB, highlighting the team’s constant flux and growth as an idea foundry, a knowledge design lab, and a production studio.

metaLAB (at) Harvard: Selected Works documents the first decade of metaLAB—a period that witnessed incredible growth with dozens of grants and hundreds of projects. As a portfolio, it’s an index to those years of adventure, a document of projects and discoveries, and a harbinger of things to come.

Curatorial A(i)gents is an exhibition program of machine-learning-based experiments with museum collections and data developed by members and affiliates of metaLAB (at) Harvard, a creative research group working in the networked arts and humanities. Projects in this program explore emerging possibilities for machine-learning systems while exploring vital issues at the intersection of technology and culture. Produced in conjunction with the planned 2020 exhibition program, Curatorial A(I)gents, this “prologue” poster was released before the show reached the gallery. Unfolding from pamphlet to poster, Chelsea Qiu’s ingenious design for the prologue publication features a lively “combinatory” structure that emphasizes dialogue among cross-cutting perspectives.

Finally, The Library Beyond the Book examines the proliferating future for libraries in a world mixed digital and physical realities. metaLAB principals Jeffrey Schnapp and Matthew Battles imagine a variety of new social, cultural, and architectural forms that the institution of the library is likely to take. Fittingly, the book is accompanied by a playable deck of cards, offered here, which encourages readers, users, and participants to “reshuffle” the future of the library for themselves.


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