Our projects seek to establish new standards of scholarly excellence, imagination, and impact even as they hack conventional academic structures. They privilege collaboration, experimentation, and iteration. Large or small, they derive their substance not only from rigorous research and design thinking but also from the input of audiences, end-users, and peers.

Some projects operate within university walls, others outside. metaLAB serves as a catalyst, incubator, and platform, working to spin off selected projects into freestanding, sustainable ventures.


Areas of Inquiry

Database Documentary Arts
& Interactive Media

How is knowledge produced and expressed through interactive media? How does the form of the database shape our relationship with information? How do we balance open exploration with guided narrative? What is the boundary between audience and author?

Animation of Archives

What kinds of participation can we invite in the curation, assembly, and preservation of archives? What new modes of analysis—from mapping to computational methods—can be brought to bear? How do collections take shape across the material/digital divide?

Curatorial Provocations

How diverse are the arguments and stories that may be made in the form of exhibitions? How can installation design conjoin media and physical objects? Can we extend curatorial interventions beyond galleries and classrooms into the built environment and the natural world?

Unearthing of Data Artifacts

How can we reveal patterns in data that speak to the social and material history of their accumulation?What can we learn from unearthing the deep history of digital collections? What tools to enable richer discussions about the cultural significance of data?

Experimental Publishing

How can scholarship find new audiences and new communities? How can design practice contribute to sustainable open-access publishing? What roles can we imagine for art, performance, and play in the production and dissemination of knowledge?

Embodied Design Thinking

Exploring collaboration, voice, and knowledge production through playful exercises in human-centered design for thinkers, academic and cultural institutions, and communities.

Teaching as Design Practice

What does it mean to make pedagogy a means of co-creation? How might we bring methods from studio teaching to bear across the liberal arts?


Digital Ecologies
Light Prop
metaLABprojects series
Cold Storage
Book a Nook
Remote library space reservations.
Feral Trees
Animating and augmenting visual archives.
The Library Observatory (for DPLA)
Beautiful Data II
extraMuros - Digital Public Library of America
A curriculum mapping experiment.
The Oracle
Thermal-printed tweet receipts with QR code to redirect to source.
Silence Is a Fabrication
Building a mobile, modular, anechoic chamber.
Sensate Journal
The Networked Museum of the Invisible Hand
Augmented Harvard
A network of physical artifacts that unlock site-specific experiences.
Feral Copyright
Lightbox Gallery
Book Biography Machine
Blueprint for Counter Education
Website for the expanded reprint edition of a defining work of experimental pedagogy.
Ghost (A Multimedia Installation Project)
TRUST (the presence of secrets)
A Bit in the Abyss
Visualizing the internet with LEDs & audio in a mirrored shipping container.
Before They Invented Light
Multimedia artifacts meet a Kinect-driven LED interactive jukebox.
Your Story Has Touched My Heart
Experimental Teaching as Design Practice
Humanities Studios
Teaching with Things
Novel TM
new media archive @ ZKM
Panorama of the Cold War / Gjiri i Panormes
Arbonauts NuVu Studio
my time is your surroundings
Visitors contribute multimedia responses to site-specific installations by Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei and Tomás Saraceno.
Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters
Interactive Documentary Workshop
The Life and Death of Data
Beautiful Data
Dictionnaire Apollinaire
A new research collaboration based at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF) between L’Observatoire de La vie Littéraire (OBVIL) and metaLAB at the Université Paris-Sorbonne.