Projects / Liminal Labs | 2016

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is pleased to announce its participation in the XXI International Exhibition of the Triennale di Milano this summer.

The XXI International Exhibition of the Triennale di Milano is hosted in Milan, Italy every three years and showcases international institutions working in fields of art, architecture, design, fashion and film. Innovation and 21st Century Design is this year’s Triennale theme and Emily Carr University — as a leader in innovation, research and design — has been invited to participate and create an exhibition and working studio space called Liminal Labs which will be situated within the “New Crafts” at the Triennale’s Fabricca del Vapore.

In the spirit of creativity and open innovation, Emily Carr University of Art + Design invites visitors at the Triennale to participate Liminal Labs, an experiment in how we collaborate: to not only think, but also to make. Traditionally a place for scientists to test hypotheses that lead to potential breakthroughs, this lab will address new ways of working collaboratively and creating collectively across multiple locations. Given the global challenges we face today — climate change and waves of economic downturn, to name a few — it’s clear that our social, economic and ecological systems are under unprecedented strain. We may not perceive to be in a state of distress but resting on our laurels may catch up with us sooner rather than later.

Fortunately, our hyper-networked world connects people from far and wide, yet we continue to work and create in isolation, in separate studios. Broad-based participation among distributed sites has the potential of expanding our pool of ideas, which in turn can increase the probability of finding transformative solutions to the elusive ‘wicked problems’.

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, describes the shift from Industrial to Participatory systems as a means to design for many forms of value beyond wealth. He implies that it’s the way forward. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, calls the transfer of capabilities from various professional classes to the general public “epochal.” Emily Carr University will host a series of events, courses, and participatory workshops towards greater understanding of networked creative collaboration. The exhibit will fluctuate between a thinking and a making space, to one of presentation and display.

Every Liminal Lab project will be part of a distributed social experiment about how to develop collaborative processes and manage displacement. Projects will explore ways of mapping appropriate creative methods with network technologies; and will discover ways of prototyping and testing over various remote locations and manufacturing in multiple locals simultaneously.

Emily Carr University’s commitment to engagement in the XXI Triennale is driving our research principles of relevance and transformation through the following key research areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Health and Welfare
  • Material Inquiry and Critical Making
  • Emerging Media and Communication
  • Social Practice, Transformation, and Innovation in the Public Realm
  • Indigenous and Aboriginal Studies
  • New Models of Entrepreneurship

The Liminal Lab will exhibit work and create curricular activities from Emily Carr’s research centres of Material Matters, Clothing as Conversation, Living Labs, Stereoscopic 3D and Critical Making. Participants engaging in Liminal course activities will be actively seeing collaboration and partnerships with other exhibits located through the New Craft Pavilion.


Lead Researchers
Haig Armen, Interaction Design, Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media; Senior Researcher, Living Labs
Hélène Day Fraser, Industrial Design, Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media; Lead Investigator, Material Matters
Keith Doyle, Industrial Design, Faculty of Design + Dynamic Media; Lead Investigator, Material Matters

Catalogue Design
Laura Kozak, Living Labs

XXI Triennale di Milano
Design after design
April 2 – September 12, 2016

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