Digital Seminar Series: Jeffrey Schnapp of the Harvard Graduate School of Design
Abstract: The phrase Knowledge Design describes the situation in the contemporary humanities that most engages me as a “digital humanist”: the fact that the form that knowledge assumes can no longer be considered a given. The tools of humanistic inquiry have become as much objects of research and experimentation as have modes of dissemination. Statistical methods press against one edge of the qualitative human sciences; graphic and information design press up against another. Laboratories arise with a team-based ethos, embracing a triangulation of arts practice, critique, and outreach, merging research, pedagogy, publication and practice. The once firm boundary line between libraries, museums, archives, and the classroom grows porous as scholarship, deprived of its once secure print-based home, starts shuttling back and forth between the stacks and the streets. In my keynote, I will provide an overall mapping of this situation and single out some key nodes: the re-mediation of print, data portraiture, bridging the analog/digital divide, and the redesign of knowledge spaces from classrooms to museums.
Bio: Jeffrey T. Schnapp is Professor of Romance Languages & Literature and Comparative Literature, and on the teaching faculty in the Department of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He is the faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. A cultural historian with research interests extending from antiquity to the present, his most recent books are The Electric Information Age Book(with Adam Michaels [Princeton Architectural Press 2012]); an anthology of essays on 20th century Italian literature, design, and architecture entitled Modernitalia (Peter Lang 2012); Digital_Humanities (MIT Press 2012), co-written with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, and Todd Presner; and The Library Beyond the Book (Harvard University Press 2014), an experimental book co-authored with Matthew Battles that explores future scenarios for libraries in the digital age. He is the editor of the metaLABprojects series with Harvard University Press. (Other current or future projects are described under the In the Works tab of this website). His work in the domains of design, digital arts and humanities, and curatorial practice includes collaborations with the Triennale di Milano, the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Canadian Center for Architecture. His Trento Tunnels project—a 6000 sq. meter pair of highway tunnels in Northern Italy repurposed as a history museum—was featured in the Italian pavilion of the 2010 Venice Biennale of Architecture and at the MAXXI in Rome in RE-CYCLE. Strategie per la casa la città e il pianeta (fall-winter 2011). Panorama of the Cold War, a collaboration with Elisabetta Terragni (Studio Terragni Architetti) and Daniele Ledda (XY comm), was exhibited in the Albanian Pavilion of the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture and is currently on exhibit in Erasmus Effect – Architetti italiani all’estero / Italian Architects Abroad at the MAXXI in Rome (Dec. 2013-April 2014). He also served as chief consulting curator for BZ ’18-’45, a documentation center built under Marcello Piacentini’s Monument to Victory in Bolzano/Bozen open to the public since July 2014.