Between 2012-2015 Media and Performance Laboratory (MAPLAB) of the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht was a pioneer in innovating and accelerating creative processes through mixed reality technology.
MAPLAB was a place for practice-led research, a center of knowledge and expertise, a development site, a learning environment, a process supervisor and a partner in co-creation of mixed reality experiences. It was intrinsically linked to (arts) educational institutions and worked closely together with arts practitioners and researchers. MAPLAB developed its own technological tools and infrastructure together with a network of creative coders, developers and interaction designers. The technological tools and research environment of the MAPLAB were designed to be applicable for research in other sectors.
This website now functions as an archive of MAPLAB activities. The work of MAPLAB is continued within the HKU Expertisecentre for Creative Technology, Future Labs and the Research Centre Performative Processes (Lectoraat Performatieve Maakprocessen).
MAPLAB was the result of the research group Virtual Theatre, led by Joris Weijdom. This group was part of HKU Research Centre Theatre Making Processes between 2008 and 2012. MAPLAB was created in collaboration with HKU Theatre and Z25.org. It started with the development of the Performance Engine. Lab research was conducted on site. In 2012 MAPLAB settled at Fort Blauwkapel – where now the Expertisecentre for Creative Technology is based.
Have a look at the video below for an impression of MAPLAB or read the more detailed bundled year 2010-13 report (click on the link to the right at ‘related media’) both are in Dutch. For some general English information please read on …
MAPLAB strived to make technology available to artists and other creative disciplines. It encouraged the use of mixed reality technology in performative contexts. Whereby ‘the performative’ was used in the broadest sense possible and not only referring to the field of performance-art or theatre. It embraced methodologies for the immediate sharing and exploring of ideas through medial manifestations in space whereby interactions are possible through physical activity.
MAPLAB believed that exchange of complex ideas in interdisciplinary teams and a collective search for answers and insights to any creative question is greatly enhanced through the collaborative development of mixed reality ‘spatial sketches’ or prototype setups that can be instantly experienced, shared, analyzed and adjusted accordingly.
The aim was to be a place for creative interdisciplinary encounters, education and crossover research. There was an integrated approach to people, process and product, whereby the ‘product’ of MAPLAB’s research was an ever growing set of knowledge and tools (both technical and methodological) to facilitate creative processes. We combined practice-led research methodologies, technological open-source development and didactic strategies and methodologies.
MAPLAB was based in Utrecht (NL) on the historic site. The core activity of a research trajectory was usually one or more ‘lab-sessions’. An intensive 1-8 day period in which an interdisciplinary group was testing its hypothesis in our large black-box studio space.
On the projects page you can find the best practices over the past years.