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Hexagram upgrades enhance facilities says new director Chris Salter

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By Beverly Akerman (Source: NOW Concordia)

Concordia University's Hexagram Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technologies -- the largest arts and design-based new media lab in Canada -- has completed extensive renovations.

"A couple of years ago, we applied for funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to update equipment like cameras and computers, and to renovate and create new facilities for the new researchers we've taken on since the first CFI grant," says Christopher Salter, the institute's new director.

The $4.5 million in funding came through and, as a result, Hexagram has been able to expand its impressive cutting-edge research facilities. The institute now has the capacity to place more emphasis on interactive performance, digital gaming and sustainable design.

Hexagram was established in 2001 with an initial CFI investment of $22 million to provide state-of-the-art equipment, resources and management infrastructure to new media art and design researchers, particularly in areas where Quebec is an emerging world leader.

Salter-200.jpgAccording to Salter, associate professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, Hexagram had primarily been identified with its physical infrastructure until a couple of years ago, but now has an expanded mandate for research/creation -- projects that advance knowledge in the fine arts and enhance the overall quality of artistic production. Salter teaches in the areas of real-time digital audio, immersive environments, critical theories of media and performance and technology.

"Traditionally, scholarship in the university has focused on text-based forms of knowledge," says the practising artist, researcher and writer based in Montreal and Berlin. "Now we can investigate questions about the particularities of artistic practice in order to produce new and very different world views and understandings of collaborations."

Salter's goal is to strengthen this new aspect, "to look at artistic practice from a multidisciplinary and scholarly point of view." He hopes to increasingly involve the humanities and social sciences, engineering, computer science, arts and ultimately the natural sciences in these endeavours.

Hexagram supports more than 80 new media art and design researchers in their work, principally at Concordia University and at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). Other associated researchers are from the Université de Montréal and McGill.

About 500 graduate students have gone through Hexagram programs. This includes PhD students and those following special individualized programs. Between 40 and 50 students are currently engaged in research projects under the supervision of Hexagram professors or benefitting from the use of Hexagram's equipment.

Hexagram is located on the 10th and 11th floors of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV), 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W.

Photo: Christopher Salter

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Posted on October 4, 2011
 
 

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