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Welcome to the CCAM Ultra Space Lab

The Ultra Space Lab is an interdisciplinary research initiative headed up by CCAM Director and Yale School of Architecture Critic Dana Karwas. 

Inspired by the work of Arakawa and Madeline Gins, the Ultra Space Lab investigates the relationship between the body and space through themes of embodiment, movement, and perception. Through a combination of digital prototyping and hands-on making, we generate artifacts, installations, and spatial experiments that frequently interface with technology in unexpected ways. Our goal at the Ultra Space lab is to find ways to further connect with and learn from the  spaces we inhabitat. The lab embraces a range of research activities and output including a yearly symposium, fellowships for students and professionals, courses at Yale, collaborations with peer institutions, exhibitions, and publications. 

Major themes include: 
  • The relationship between the body and space
  • How can we consider other environments to challenge spatial    thinking?
  • How can we use our entire body to see?
  • Movement, time, and perception

Our approach at Ultra Space is guided by a system we call  M-cubed - based on applications of  movement, mechanism, and meaning that can span from digital to material implementation. The criteria for M-cubed involves the following:   
  • Mechanism - how can your artifact function as a system of parts working together to create a machine? This can be considered both in an analog and digital sense. 
    (keyworks: automatons, clocks, amulets, degrees of freedom, tensegrity, locks, kinetic sculpture, rotation, communal mechanisms, cause, and effect)

  • Movement - how does your artifact address concepts in movement ecology? What movement affordances does it present to the perceiver? How do we know it is moving in a specific physics/environment? What are its reference frames? (keyworks: seaweed moving in water, propulsion, force, time, balance, momentum, flow, proprioception, offsets, choreography, motion tracking, feedback)

  • Meaning - what makes this artifact meaningful to culture and society? How does it question the future? What spatial information is it offering? What can we learn from it? How is it considering ideas of adaptation (keyworks: memories, reference frames, knowledge, storytelling, narrative,)

The Ultra Space Lab is a cornerstone of CCAM.  The Center for Collaborative Arts and Media at Yale University. (CCAM) is Yale’s interdisciplinary art and technology center. CCAM is part of the cultural landscape at Yale that includes other major institutions such as the  Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. CCAM is also home to an interdisciplinary curriculum;sponsoring classes from art and architecture to public health. Faculty from all over the university including professional schools and Yale college teach courses at CCAM that are interdisciplinary in nature. CCAM is naturally a staging ground for faculty and students  to experiment with new technology, including filmmaking techniques, VR, and AI, and is a  place for people to come to investigate and present ideas. CCAM starts with creativity and nurtures an exchange that is even handed with technology, using the tools of creativity to advance projects and research. CCAM is a natural home for the Ultra Space Lab, and other labs at Yale- forming an archipelago of interdisciplinary labs within an art-forward setting.