Lab3, Laboratory for Experimental Computer Science is a mélange of a laboratory for computer science and electrical engineering, a seminar room and a space for social exchange. Teachers, students and fellows of the academy here come together for seminars and workshops, discuss art and technology and carry out long-term projects in art and science.
Generally, Lab3 supports projects that combine engineering, art, design and theory and that often start with an experimental inquiry into code, materiality and their social, cultural and artistic contexts. These experiments often are exploratory in nature, following a path “from experiment to idea” (cf. Douglas Davis: Vom Experiment zur Idee, Köln: DuMont, 1982). Unlike some other media labs, Lab3 focuses less on the development of novel media formats and more on the questioning of their technological and aesthetic functioning and socio-cultural role. The projects developed hence often not only use algorithmic processes in order to convey an artistic idea but rather investigate the internal structure of digital computing machinery and its interpenetration with the analog world.
While computing technologies continue to impact the society that created them, there still is a need to reflect the processes and practices that transform concepts into code and – even more importantly – code into aesthetic phenomena. Laboratories may serve as experimental playgrounds that allow an exploratory analysis of code, programmable materials and their aesthetics and cultural roles. Lab3 is such a playground, located at the interface between a closed academy context, functioning as a shelter in which ideas may likewise grow or decease, and a public context, showcasing art and research at numerous occasions.