2021 Virtual Creative Spring Workshops

“Creative workshops exploring AI, time, and the future of communication”

metaLAB’s experimental, materials-based creative workshops bring together hybrid formats that include design thinking exercises, group discussion, and physical prototyping (yes, even on zoom!) to think through pressing questions and work toward possible reformulations, new metaphors—and maybe, some solutions.

Created and led by metaLAB Director of Art & Education, Sarah Newman, these workshops will cover wide ranging topics including artificial intelligence, time, and online communication, through the lenses of technology, psychology, and philosophy. The workshops are FUN(!), interactive, and meant to help foster new ideas, introduce participants to a new creative methodology, and build community and embodied experience in the disembodied virtual world we so often inhabit. No advance knowledge or experience is required—all are welcome, and spots will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

AI as a Mirror
Reflecting our Best (and Worst) Selves

Fri 5.28, 12-1:15 PM EST

We hear all the buzz about AI. We know some of the risks. Maybe some of the opportunities. How much better can a technology be than the people who create it? Who (and what) are we building for? And who gets left out? How can we learn about ourselves by looking to the technologies that we want to build or use? As AI systems are built on more and more data, what do we get, and what are we giving up? We’ll explore these and other questions through discussion, design thinking, physical prototyping, and more.

The Mysteries of Time
In Physics & Philosophy

Fri 6.11, 10-11:15 AM EDT

Five minutes can pass in a flash, or feel like an eternity. There are countless poems, songs, and cliches about it. But what really is time? How is time defined in physics and philosophy? Is time a property of the world or a property of experience—or both? Or neither? What do we know, what do we not yet understand? We’ll explore these and other questions through discussion, design thinking, physical prototyping, and more.

From Telegrams to Telepathic Memos:
The Future of Trust & Truth Online

Fri 6.25, 3-4:15 PM EDT

Communication is at the core of what it means to be human. And today, most of that communication is technologically mediated. As our communication systems change, the risks evolve alongside the benefits. We now see it daily: mis- and disinformation campaigns, polarization, surveillance, the undermining of social infrastructures. How do the design and incentives of social media companies influence individual choices and major social movements? Where are we headed? What do we want to create—and what do we want to leave behind? How can we work toward building the forms of connection that we (or others) would like to see, while also mitigating the risks? We’ll explore these and other questions through discussion, design thinking, physical prototyping, and more.

Additional nuts and bolts:
Ten minutes of pre-work will be required for each workshop. In the interest of extending the opportunity as broadly as possible, we are allowing individuals to sign up for one workshop (feel free to join the waitlist for others). Attendance for the full 75 minutes is expected. Since it is interactive and quite intense, it is not a drop in/out kind of thing! If you sign up and realize you cannot attend, just let us know and we will open up a spot from the waitlist. Thank you! Looking forward to it!