A Digital Lab opens its doors in Liege
Intended to incorporate the future creative pole of Bavière, the Digital Lab was born out of a partnership between the Province and the University of Liège. Located in the heart of the city, the digital laboratory will notably welcome researchers from the Liege Game Lab and ACME. This unifying project, centred on the theme of digital and writing in the broadest sense, already guides many initiatives within the organizations that have set it up.
he Liège Digital Lab opened its doors on December 1st, 2017 in the heart of the city. Intended to join the future creative pole of Bavière (in 2022), the Digital Lab is the fruit of a collaboration between the University of Liège (through the research groups Liège Game Lab and ACME) and the Province of Liège. This place, which is above all open to as many people as possible, has three objectives: to be a research and experimental laboratory for researchers from the University who are interested in the different practices related to video games (creation of games by amateurs, community games and around the game, hijackings, literature, press...), to become a place of mediation of digital media for employees of the Province and the general public, through a series of recurrent animations and punctual events, and finally become a place of exhibition.
The Digital Lab is above all a research and experimentation laboratory for students, researchers of the University or anyone interested in the different practices related to video games or digital creation in general (creation of games by amateurs, community practices of the game and around the game, hijacking, literature, press...). Themes or issues may be submitted to the Digital Lab as research subjects in order to meet the expectations of the many partners from the economic and cultural fabric, citizens who wish to take part in this dynamic.
Aware that immersive technologies are going to take an increasingly prominent place in our lives, researchers wanted to equip the Digital Lab with high-performance computers, next-gen consoles and of course VR (virtual reality) helmets, but also motion leap (i. e. a system to recognize a hand and its articulations in order to do without supports such as a joystick) to prepare the shift towards virtual reality. Researchers have of course integrated these new tools into their scientific approaches, but they also wish to use them to promote cultural mediation and give creators the opportunity to use these technologies in their projects. The library catalogue of the Liege Game Lab library will be made available there. Three tablets (Windows, Android and Apple brands) will allow the consultation of articles and documents specific to digital and video game themes.
A space for mediation
Like a Fablab or hackerspace, the Digital Lab is a meeting place around digital culture. It is also similar to the notion of a third place, which symbolizes physical or virtual spaces of encounters between people and various skills that do not necessarily have a vocation to cross paths. This space will be shared by a community in order to pool skills, knowledge or resources.
By offering digital mediation for the general public as well as the provincial departments, the Digital Lab will allow to understand and even integrate, through a series of recurrent animations and punctual events, the tools and applications available. In this way, it aims to create a participative and evolving community of interest for the pooling and dissemination of knowledge and experiences around digital technology.
A place of creation and exhibition
Finally, the Digital Lab is a workshop open to anyone wishing to design a video game or any other digital creation. Whether it's a teacher looking to develop or hijack a game to use it as a support for a course or enthusiasts wanting to create their own game or even prototype their own console through connections with the Cré@lab or artists working around the video game. The Digital Lab also hosts since December 1st a first photo exhibition by Pierre Martin (Liègeois active at the University as an e-media specialist) on the theme of retro-gaming (practice consisting in playing and very often collecting old video games).
While waiting for 2022 and the setting up of the cultural and creative development pole (supported by the ERDF) on the site of Bavière, the Digital Lab is installed at 17 rue des Croisiers in Liege, in a space belonging to the Province of Liege and located in the immediate vicinity of the provincial cultural departments which will also come to occupy the pole. The cluster will bring together the three pillars of knowledge (via the resource centre), research and experimentation (via the exploration of possibilities, i. e. a new generation of Maison de la création) but also the transformation of promising projects into economic reality via the incubator.
Many researchers from the University of Liège are participating in this new adventure. Among them:
- Boris KRYWICKI - Assistant in the Department of Arts and Sciences of Communication, member of the Laboratoire d' Étude sur les Médias et la Médiation de l' ULiège (LEMME).
- Lison JOUSTEN - Assistant in the Department of Arts and Communication Sciences
- Pierre-Yves HUREL - Assistant in the Department of Arts and Communication Sciences, member of the Liege Game Lab (LGL), the Laboratory of Media and Mediation Studies of the ULiège (LEMME) and the Interuniversity Laboratory of Gameplay and Virtual Worlds (LabJMV)
- Bruno DUPONT - Assistant at the Centre for German Studies (CEA)
- Julie DELBOUILLE - FRESH scholarship holder in the Department of Arts and Communication Sciences of the University of Liège, member of Intersections, the Laboratoire d' Étude sur les Médias et la Médiation de l' ULiège (LEMME), the Laboratoire interuniversitaire du Jeu et des Mondes Virtuels (LabJMV).
- Fanny BARNABÉ - post-doctoral fellow at the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies in Kyoto, member of the Laboratoire d' Étude sur les Médias et la Médiation de l' ULiège (LEMME) and the Laboratoire interuniversitaire du Jeu et des Mondes Virtuels (LabJMV).
Nicolas CASTELAIN - Animator - Province of Liège
Nicolas.email@example.com I +32 (497)82 88 49
www.digitallab.be (website under construction) I Rue des Croisiers, 17 - 4000 Liège, Belgium