EPFL's College of Humanities partners with the Center for Imaging

It is now possible to travel to the far reaches of space without leaving Earth with the powerful open source software VIRUP © 2021 Alain Herzog

It is now possible to travel to the far reaches of space without leaving Earth with the powerful open source software VIRUP © 2021 Alain Herzog

EPFL’s College of Humanities (CDH) and Center for Imaging are joining forces. Two CDH research labs will work with the Center on cross-disciplinary projects that bring together data, art and science. CDH has also launched an artist-in-residence program whereby researchers conduct projects related to scientific imaging.

Many of EPFL’s imaging projects combine art, big data, artificial intelligence and aesthetic design. For example, one involves using VIRUP software to generate real-time, 3D images of spaces; others entail deploying immersive, interactive display systems to arrange and exhibit large sets of artistic and/or historical data. Now, two CDH labs – the Digital Humanities Laboratory and the Laboratory for Experimental Museology – are joining EPFL’s Center for Imaging to work on such projects.

The Laboratory for Experimental Museology, headed by Sarah Kenderdine, uses innovative technology to create visual representations of complicated scientific information – particularly data. The lab has already worked alongside others at EPFL to develop immersive installations that propel users deep inside a galaxy, view the mechanisms of nuclear fusion and plasma physics, break down an athlete’s movements, and simulate all types of scientific big data. “Scientists need new ways of visualizing big data,” says Kenderdine. “We are exploring ways to meet this need.”

The Digital Humanities Laboratory, headed by Frédéric Kaplan, is developing new computational methods to manage vast sets of digital cultural objects – such as large corpora of texts, images and complex documents – and generate high-resolution scans of artefacts, buildings and entire cities. Kaplan’s was the first digital humanities laboratory in Switzerland, and probably in the world, to apply methods from computer science, machine learning and robotics to research on digital humanities.

Call for proposals from two artists already familiar with imaging technology

The residency program created under the new partnership is currently looking for two artists who are familiar with imaging technology or visual effects. Proposals may be submitted until end-November. The artists’ proposed projects should aim to explore the cross-disciplinary, multi-scale nature of imaging (from the atomic to the cosmological). Resident artists will be able to use some of the Center’s research equipment and facilities.

Learn more about the artist-in-residence program