18 Oct 2019

Lab Environments

Spaces of Possibility and Certainty in Scientific Practice
This workshop addresses the laboratory as both a confined space, assembling and isolating elements of experimental systems; and a permeable space, embedded in organizations and infrastructures. It aims to explore how every entry, exit, change, or rearrangement of elements inside and outside the lab can expand or narrow the space of possibilities of experimental systems and the status of its epistemic objects.

Experimentation is characterized by exploratory strategies as much as by clear aims and methodological rules, by openness to unprecedented events, contingency and surprise as much as by reproducibility and the stabilizing and control of materials and procedures. Researchers can be more or less certain as to what was actually manipulated or measured, or which factors interfered. Hence, laboratory practices generate uncertainty as to the status of potential novelty and afford means to reduce opacity, ambiguity and instability and achieve certainty. The workshop addresses this tension by examining how personnel, tools or materials enter or leave the lab; how physical, chemical, and biological, as well as social and psychological lab conditions go unnoticed or become targets of control; and how transfers between labs, field sites, and service facilities shape experimental possibilities.


ICI Berlin
(Click for further documentation)


Stephan Güttinger
Nora Hangel
Daniel Liu
Joe Martin
Robert Meunier
Lisa Onaga
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

Organized by

Daniel Liu
Robert Meunier

In English

First published on:
Rights: © ICI Berlin
Cite as: Lab Environments: Spaces of Possibility and Certainty in Scientific Practice, workshop, ICI Berlin, 18 October 2019 <>