The Lab Book

The Lab Book

Situated Practices in Media Studies

by Darren Wershler, Lori Emerson and Jussi Parikka

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

328 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 38.00 mm, 41 black & whilte illustrations

  • ISBN: 9781517902186
  • Published: December 2021



An important new approach to the study of laboratories, presenting a practical method for understanding labs in all walks of life

From the “Big Science” of Bell Laboratories to the esoteric world of séance chambers to university media labs to neighborhood makerspaces, places we call “labs” are everywhere—but how exactly do we account for the wide variety of ways that they produce knowledge? More than imitations of science and engineering labs, many contemporary labs are hybrid forms that require a new methodological and theoretical toolkit to describe. The Lab Book investigates these vital, creative spaces, presenting readers with the concept of the “hybrid lab” and offering an extended—and rare—critical investigation of how labs have proliferated throughout culture.

Organized by interpretive categories such as space, infrastructure, and imaginaries, The Lab Book uses both historical and contemporary examples to show how laboratories have become fundamentally connected to changes in the contemporary university. Its wide reach includes institutions like the MIT Media Lab, the Tuskegee Institute’s Jesup Wagon, ACTLab, and the Media Archaeological Fundus. The authors cover topics such as the evolution and delineation of lab-based communities, how labs’ tools and technologies contribute to defining their space, and a glossary of key hybrid lab techniques.

Providing rich historical breadth and depth, The Lab Book brings into focus a critical, but often misunderstood, aspect of the contemporary arts and humanities.