Neural 38, p2p > f2f
Hacktivism, E-Music, new Media Art
issue 38
ISSN: 2037-108X

book review:
LAb[au] / MetaDesign
Alessandro Ludovico


This is a comprehensive monograph of LAb[au], laboratory for architecture and urbanism and artist group founded in Brussels in 1997. The group's name merges two different meanings: a phonetic and a written one: that of the French and Dutch pronunciation of "labo" which relates to an experimental approach and that of "bau", the German term for construction. LAb[au] has a rigorous approach to design that seamlessly deals with generative processes as well as interactive public architecture, or biology as well as kinetic sculpture. Their "MetaDeSign" is defined as a "practice grounded on the inherent logic of computation and communication technologies in the visualization and formalization of information, processing data into textual, graphical, spatial and sonic representations." Analyzing their artworks it is perceptible that they usually construct sense through structures, painstakingly composing elements and exploiting technology, developing their own software and interfaces. The works speak a universal language through various media and strategies, because of the self-discipline and rigor used in designing. This rigor is also reflected in the structure and the graphic design of this luxury book: the works all share a few common concepts (among them "data.scapes", "binary states", "screenography" and "spectraum"). They serve as a compass to help orientate in

what the group defines as "parameter design", or a proper language and aesthetic that derives from applied technologies. And here lies their peculiarity.

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