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This is a Berkman Klein alum page. The information below may be out of date.

Matthew Battles is the Director of Scholarly Initiatives at metaLAB at Harvard, where he develops design interventions, media provocations, and technology projects in collaboration with a team of architects, web designers, scholars and artists. Matthew has written about the cultural dimensions of science and technology for such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Times. His book Library: an Unquiet History (W. W. Norton) is available in eight languages worldwide and has been in print since 2003, and he is coauthor, with Jeffrey Schnapp, of The Library Beyond the Book (Harvard 2014). His recent books include Palimpsest (Norton 2015) and Tree (Bloomsbury 2017). He is currently working on a book about memory as a property of the world.

Projects & Tools

metaLAB (at) Harvard

Explores the digital arts and humanities through research, teaching, publications, and exhibitions


Apr 7, 2015

Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media

An ebook presenting diverse views, experiences, and insights on key challenges and opportunities

“Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media,” is a first-of-its kind collection of essays that offers reflections from diverse perspectives on youth…


Jun 15, 2020

metaLAB Releases “Their Names” Visualization

Project visualizes the names of over 28,000 fatal encounters with police

Project visualizes the names of over 28,000 fatal encounters with police

Aug 9, 2019

Datafied Refuge

Navigating New Digital Border for Refugees in the City

I'm an asylum seeker, with $200 cash and a mobile phone without a data plan, and I'm trying to cross the border. I glance around, watching men and women passing; who among them…

Sep 28, 2018

A Thicket of Questions

On Matthew Battles’s Earth Measurer

How does nonliving artificial-intelligence technology relate to the precarious state of life on earth?

Harvard Gazette
Aug 3, 2018

metaLAB unveils Curricle

On the eve of Fall term 2018, metaLAB presents a new visual tool for curriculum search and discovery.

About three years ago, metaLAB at Harvard took up the challenge to develop a digital tool that would revolutionize how students, faculty, and administrators engage with the…


metaLAB (at) Harvard

#MeToo Anti-Network

A metaLAB (at) Harvard project illustrates how a movement such as #MeToo is constituted by masses of unobserved tweets.

Nov 23, 2021
The Harvard Gazette

Fatal encounters with police

‘Their Names’ project gathers the stories of 28,000 people, from Jan. 1, 2000, to George Floyd

Jun 26, 2020

Invasive Species For Dessert?

metaLAB collaborates with local designer and researcher to create interactive, public tastings

Jun 7, 2019

Time and the Selva Oscura

A meditation on the temporality of forests

Jun 25, 2018


Aug 7, 2017 @ 10:00 AM


metaLAB AI Art Exhibition, Lightbox Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

metaLAB exhibits five new artistic projects playfully and critically engaging different aspects of Artificial Intelligence at Harvard Art Museum's Lightbox Gallery from August 8…

Sep 24, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

Curated by the Crowd: collections, data, and platforms for participation in museums and other institutions

hosted by metaLAB's Jeffrey Schnapp, Matthew Battles and Pablo Barría Urenda

Curarium is a collection of collections, an “animated archive,” designed to serve as a model for crowdsourcing annotation, curation, and augmentation of works within and beyond…

Nov 13, 2012 @ 12:30 PM

This is Improbable

Featuring Marc Abrahams and other special guests

Marc Abrahams -- publisher of the Annals of Improbable Research, host of the annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, and author of several books (including his latest, This is Improbable:…

May 15, 2012 @ 12:30 PM

Going Feral on the Net: the Qualities of Survival in a Wild, Wired World

Matthew Battles, Managing Editor and Curatorial Practice Fellow at metaLAB (at) Harvard

How do we balance the empowering possibilities of the networked public sphere with the dark, unsettling, and even dangerous energies of cyberspace? Matthew Battles blends a deep…