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Digital Labs

A number of digital labs in York University's School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design support research creation, curatorial and scholarly projects led by individual faculty members and interdisciplinary research teams. The research community supported by, and contributing to, the ongoing development of project-based research in the labs include faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from Fine Arts and across the University.

The Augmented Reality (AR) Lab is dedicated to producing innovative expressive tools...
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The Mobile Media Lab (MML) is co-located at York University in Toronto and Concordia University in Montreal.
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The Digital Sculpture Lab is a
one-of-a-kind facility dedicated to 3D printing technology...
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The n-D::StudioLab is a facility designed for the research and development of transmodal artworks based on...
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The Future Cinema Lab (FCL) is an innovative transmedia research umbrella bringing together...
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The Stereoscopic 3D Lab (S3DL@York) emerged from the alliance of filmmaker, scholar and visual artist Ali Kazimi...
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The Augmented Reality (AR) Lab is dedicated to producing innovative expressive tools, research methods, interfaces and content that challenge cinematic and literary conventions and aim to enhance how people interact with their physical environment and with each other. Part of the Future Cinema Lab in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, the AR Lab offers researchers the opportunity to explore new screen technologies, approaches and techniques through both production and theoretical study of this emerging medium. The lab offers some of the most advanced technology available to practitioners in a fine arts context anywhere in the world.
Researchers in the AR Lab have produced international award-winning immersive AR pieces, interactive theatre, AR fiction and poetry for iPads and iPhones as well as AR installations and mobile media. Students in the lab are undertaking research at the cutting edge of art/science collaborations and are often involved in international partnerships. Graduate trainees have presented work at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, published documentation of prototypes in arts and culture journals, participated in SIGGRAPH, ISEA, DAC, ISMAR, TEDx Dubai, ELO, MLA, HASTAC and SCMS, delivered keynote addresses internationally, and launched software and publishing ventures.

The AR Lab is part of the Ontario Augmented Reality Network and has collaborated with Georgia Tech, the Ontario Science Centre, TIFF/Nexus and Millenium3 Engineering, among others. The AR Lab is also engaged in public outreach initiatives and frequently delivers hands-on workshops. Workshop participants to date include women in the gaming industry, Women in Film and Television,  the Ontario Augmented Reality Association, historians, schoolchildren and museum goers.

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER:  Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture


Sculpture Studio

The Digital Sculpture Lab (DSL) is a one-of-a-kind facility dedicated to the study and utilization of emerging 3D printing technology, investigating the collapsing borders between the digital universe and the reality of physical objects.

Established in 2005 with support from Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Innovation, the DSL allows for the translation of digitally designed objects into actuality, which not only represents a new process of creating but demands a complete rethinking of the way we perceive and relate to physical objects. The three main research objectives of the DSL are to:

  • utilize this technology in the enhancement of already existing sculptural processes
  • explore the possibilities for new conceptual and physical practices that this technology makes possible for the production of cultural objects and the manufacturing sector
  • adapt and evolve this technology in a critical environment in order to advance the technology of 3D printing

The DSL is structured around a central design station, comprising several computers used to design objects in virtual reality, that serves as the hub of the laboratory. Augmenting this hub are physical work stations where the coded information is translated into three-dimensional objects in a variety of materials and composites. The systems utilized range from CNC milling machines and plasma cutters to advanced rapid prototyping machines, as well as a 3D scanning station allowing for physical objects to be translated into the virtual realm.

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER: Brandon Vickerd, Associate Professor in Visual Arts


The Future Cinema Lab (FCL) is an innovative transmedia research umbrella bringing together York Fine Arts faculty, students, alumni and scholars whose diverse projects investigate how new digital storytelling techniques are critically transforming, and being transformed by, new screen technologies. The  first dedicated facility of its kind in Canada, the FCL enables researchers to design new forms of storytelling, develop prototypes for urban research, and create innovative, subversive new media projects within networked and hybrid media environments. Since 2007, FCL members have used lab resources and facilities to produce new media installations, present outdoor screenings in public spaces, curate interactive exhibitions, and initiate pioneering artists projects involving locative media, GPS, cellphone apps, augmented reality and urban transit commuter screens.

The FCL was initiated as a joint research project between Professors John Greyson, Caitlin Fisher and Janine Marchessault, bringing together their unique and complementary practices as researchers, artists, filmmakers and curators within a spectrum of new media practices. In 2009 Professors Mark-David Hosale, Ali Kazimi, Brenda Longfellow and Don Sinclair joined the lab as collaborators, expanding the FCL's areas of concern to include interactive web documentary, hybrid new media projects and 3-D installation.

The FCL approaches the emerging and established fields of site-specific art,  transmedia and digital activism with hybrid perspectives, emphasizing issues of diversity, social justice and digital citizenship. In the face of an overwhelmingly powerful entertainment industry that monopolizes the world’s screens and future cinemas, researchers involved in FCL recognize the urgency to create new kinds of shared experiences that exist outside the lab or the profit-driven marketplace, engaging with some of the most pressing social and ecological issues facing our planet today.

Janine Marchessault, Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization
Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture
John Greyson, Associate Professor in Film Production
Ali Kazimi, Associate Professor in Film Production
Don Sinclair, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Digital Media Program, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design
Brenda Longfellow, Associate Professor in Film Production
Mark-David Hosale, Assistant Professor in Digital Media


The Mobile Media Lab (MML) is co-located at York University in Toronto and Concordia University in Montreal. It comprises an interdisciplinary research team exploring wireless communications, mobile technologies and locative media practices. MML brings together a unique configuration of expertise in art, design, engineering, new media, cultural theory, social science and policy studies. Projects projects treat physical territory as an active and volatile interface using networked technologies to connect the physical to the virtual.

Current research encompasses:

  • collaborative gaming and performance in mobile contexts
  • playful and alternative interaction scenarios for mobile and portable computing
  • exploration of novel physical interfaces
  • integration of the physical and virtual studio utilizing 3D modeling and rapid prototyping technologies
  • experimentation with new processes and materials development.

MML researchers have produced projects exploring the cultural and aesthetic dimensions of media-rich content for mobile platforms using an assemblage of cell phones, PDAs, GPS systems, custom-built Bluetooth sensors, and open source software. Their research probes how these subtle technologies augment, enhance, deplete, mediate and foster new sensations of temporality in urban contexts and outdoor spaces. The Lab has also been exploring the relationship between ageing, communication and media through a series of collaborations and partnerships with seniors (Ageing Communication Media).

Interdisciplinary collaboration is an integral part of MML research. Past and current collaborations include universities, research institutes and industry partners including Concordia University, the Mobile Experience Lab at OCAD U, the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, Hexagram: Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, and Apple Canada.

Michael Longford, Associate Professor in Digital Media, York University
Barbara Crow, Associate Professor in Communication Studies, York University
Kim Sawchuk, Professor in Communication Studies, Concordia University
Owen Chapman, Associate Professor in Communication Studies, Concordia University


The n-D::StudioLab is a facility designed for the research and development of transmodal artworks based on a worldmaking agenda.

The “n” in n-D refers to vast potential and the infinite. The “D” refers to:

  • n-Disciplinary – trans-disciplinary, blurring boundaries, cross breeding and evolving fields
  • n-Dimensional – expanding, complex and continuous
  • n-Domain – trans-sensory, trans-experiential, transmodal

The n-D::StudioLab is an adaptable space that can accommodate unexpected projects and unknown future technologies with as few limitations as possible. Research-creation activities in the n-D::StudioLab revolve around the activities of theoretical discourse, methodological development and the production of works. The common foci of these activities explore questions and produce work in the areas of art/science, media art and Interactive architecture. While a distinction between theory, methods and making can be helpful for discussion, in practice they are interrelated with the output of one activity being the catalyst of another. Since its inception in fall 2011 the n-D::StudioLab has been involved in the research and development of several works that have been shown internationally.

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER: Mark-David Hosale, Assistant Professor in Digital Media



Established in 2012 with support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Stereoscopic 3D Lab (S3DL@York) emerged from the alliance of filmmaker, scholar and visual artist Ali Kazimi with vision science researchers Laurie Wilcox and Rob Allison along with industry partners including Cinespace Film Studios3D Camera CompanyIMAX and Christie Digital. The goals of S3DL@York are twofold: creative and scientific. Researchers use the infrastructure of the lab to explore the uncharted creative possibilities offered by digital stereoscopy to create industry-standard stereoscopic 3D material and to conduct rigorous physiological and psychological testing. The aim is to provide original, important, scientifically-based perceptual data for the development of stereoscopic 3D films; to contribute to a knowledge base in Canada for stereoscopic 3D production in film, installation and multi-media; and to serve as a catalyst for other related new media developments by providing training in stereography and disseminating research data and results from prototype-based experimentation. The purpose of this research is also to contribute significantly to the knowledge base of stereoscopic 3D film language and to make this knowledge available to other filmmakers, researchers and commercial 3D technology developers.

S3DL@York researchers are currently engaged in a three-year project called Depth in Motion, funded by a research/creation grant from the New Media Initiative of the Canada Council and NSERC.

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER: Ali Kazimi, Associate Professor in Film

Laurie Wilcox, Associate Professor in Psychology
Rob Allison, Associate Professor in Computer Science & Engineering