EPFL (1) – Heritage/Art labs


Original intention of this visit to EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) was to experience the Montreux Jazz Lab listening space (see Montreux Jazz Digital Project).
The listening space is constructed to one side of the Montreux Jazz Café – visitors are free to operate the sophisticated touch panel to navigate the 50 year history data base and finally to add a choice of music to the playlist such that it is is lined up to play at the next possible moment after any current selection terminates.

The viewing and listening space can accommodate around 10 people – there are multiple loudspeakers creating a pleasant spacial surround – the main projection screen covers the front wall and is augmented by side screens which contain innovative LED display and mirror-like combination which show additional information while making the room space appear much larger.


Within the café there are multiple video screens (“disguised” within “picture frames”) of varying sizes showing the same clips as selected within the main listening space. And there are also navigation/viewing/listening booths for individual and independent search of the data base.

So, that is all very positive – the viewing is fine, the sound is excellent, and ability to navigate the entire data base is a privilege as the on-line internet version seems to have been removed.

However, there was no further display or access to anything surrounding the whole digital project – which was an expectation based on the extensive web material available and on the displays at successive years at the Montreux Jazz Festival. We are missing a display at EPFL of the whole process of archiving and extrapolation to future possibilities derived from this work. Maybe there is and we simply have not discovered it.

At the other end of the same building, in the ArtLab, there is a very nice interactive “big data” room which allows visitors to dig deep into EPFL student/staff profiles, interaction across subjects, global linkages, and much more; display techniques for this information are  fabulous. Then, to learn about two very large projects – the “Blue Brain” and the “Venice Time Machine“. Just as for the Montreux work, both of these projects involve large amounts of data — digitizing, safeguarding, making it accessible and usable.  Montreux is a teaser – these are huge — really “big  data”.

A landmark construction on the EPFL campus is the Rolex Learning Center – cool design – enjoy the following links:
360 degree virtual visits – select the Rolex Learning Center
EPFL Rolex Learning Center Site