The boundaries between art, design, science and technology are disappearing in a digital world. Today, artists use algorithms, scientists rely on visualization and designers are often focused on helping people navigate new technologies.
At the University of Chicago, the disciplines come together at the Media Arts, Data and Design Center, creating a new collaborative space for experimentation, discovery and impact. The MADD Center will support work by faculty, other academic appointees, students, staff and community partners through cutting-edge technologies. The 20,000-square-foot center in the John Crerar Library opened Feb. 25.
“Design, as a field, now encompasses the sum of human interactions with the devices, environments and communities that shape daily life,” said David J. Levin, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts. “The MADD Center gives the University of Chicago a space to address these radical changes, assess their wide-ranging consequences, and comprehend the ways that perception, sensation and experience are being transformed.”
At the MADD Center, there are opportunities to create, study and learn about critical technologies driving both culture and science, including video games, virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, and digital fabrication. The MADD Center brings together the College, Division of the Humanities, Division of the Physical Sciences, UChicago Arts and the UChicago Library.
The MADD Center will host five resource labs:
- An expanded Computer Science Instructional Lab, providing hardware and software for training and education;
- The Hack Arts Lab, an open-access digital fabrication, prototyping and visualization facility;
- The new Weston Game Lab, offering expanded resources for the study, play and development of analog, electronic, virtual and online games;
- The Research Computing Center Visualization Lab in the Crerar Library’s Kathleen A. Zar Room, providing new data visualization technology;
- The UChicago Library’s new GIS Hub, enabling geospatial research and learning activities by providing access to geographical information systems software and hardware and an expert GIS and maps librarian who offers consultations and training.