CCCB LAB 

The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is, as the name pretty much tells you even if you don’t speak Catalan, is a museum-like institution in Barcelona dedicated to contemporary culture. At the end of 2009 the CCCB created the CCCB LAB, a new “department…dedicated to research and innovation in the cultural sphere, paying special attention to the evolution of formats…” The LAB consolidates the CCCB’s various research projects (including conferences and exploratory symposiums) and acts as an R+D-styled incubator for new thinking about the things cultural institutions do.

Though the evolution of CCCB’s virtual exhibits is a focus of the LAB, its own website is essentially only a blog (not entirely available in English translation), but an interesting one. Inasmuch, it has the typical blog functionalities: categories, (free text) tags, archives by date and author, a single-button search box that does a simple full-text search of posts and returns a list in reverse-chronological order, and links to relevant projects elsewhere on the web.

In addition, there is fairly extensive documentation of the LAB’s mission and working philosophies. As well as a calendar of “projects” which includes conferences, festivals, and their semi-monthly I+C+i sessions. I+C+i, which is described as the public face of the lab, is an ongoing series of presentations, panels, interviews, and discussions with “artists, exhibition directors, designers, technologists, scientists, journalists, architects, historians, stage directors, art theorists and programmers … working on innovative and pioneering projects” in the “research, development, and innovation … concepts into the domain of culture.” On the I+C+i website (unfortunately for most of us, only in Catalan, aside from a translation of the “què és” text) these events are thoroughly documented in text, video, photos (on Flickr), links, Twitter hashtags, &c.

As a “Best of the Web,” I wouldn’t vote for the CCCB LAB site. There is much of interest buried within and linked from it, and it’s certainly a blog that I will continue to read. Potentially some of the sites for LAB and other CCCB exhibitions and projects that issue from the LAB may be worthy of a best-of. In fact a few were also among this year’s nominated sites. In time perhaps these explorations will inform their own virtual presence.

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