The second Leonardo Education and Art Forum: Transdisciplinary Visual Arts,
Science & Technology Renewal Post-New Media Assimilation workshop.
Sponsored by the National Institute for Experimental Arts.
Presented in collaboration with Rewire the Fourth International Conference
on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology.
Liverpool School of Art & Design,
Liverpool John Moores University Art & Design Academy
Duckinfield St, Off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool
DATE: 27th September
Associate Professor Paul Thomas: College of Fine Art, University of New
South Wales and Curtin University of Technology
Nina Czeglady: Senior Fellow, KMDI, University of Toronto, Adjunct Associate
Professor, Concordia University, Montreal, Senior Fellow, Hungarian
University of Fine Arts, Budapest.
Transdisciplinarity is deemed ‘radical’, ‘provisional and
opportunistic’ because it challenges traditional educational paradigms. It
focuses critical and creative attention onto domain-specific problem areas
of ‘chance’, ‘discontinuity’ and ‘materiality’ (Foucault, 1976)
to transcend limits within established disciplinary knowledge practices.
This enables (re)visioning of the role, activity and value of Art Schools in
uniting the pedagogical and technological strengths of the humanities and
sciences in a university context, utilising conceptual growth, experimental
innovation, visual communication and flexible learning spaces to deliver a
model of Transdisciplinarity.
The second Leonardo Education and Art Forum workshop is a follow up to the
post iSEA2011 Istanbul workshop which explores the transdisciplinary model
from various international institutional perspectives. Similarly structured
around three focus areas this workshop continues to seek to identify and
share ways to address challenges encountered in interdisciplinary
art/science practices and curricula with the aim of publishing a guide to
effective models and best practices in LEAF International.
WORKING GROUPS’ FOCUS AREAS:
1. Transdisciplinary collaborations
Working group leaders: Petra Gemeinboeck and Mike Phillips
2. Transdisciplinary practice in the studio
Working group leaders: Ross Harley and Peter Ride
3. Transdisciplinary theory
Working group leaders: Darren Tofts and Wendy Coones
Dr. Petra Geminboeck and Prof. Mike Phillips, the leaders of group 1, will
focus on transdisciplinary collaborations within the existing institutional
framework. Dr. Geminboeck will explore how historically experimental arts
practices seem to be particularly privileged for opening up and navigating
via transdisciplinarity such a complex, slippery terrain. She will explore
how we can develop and foster a horizontal, open transdisciplinary framework
for research collaboration that perforates and transcends existing
disciplinary boundaries. Prof. Mike Phillips will offer another angle on the
fractious debate surrounding the ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’
approaches to research, from the Earth Sciences perspective. Rather than
considering the diverging approaches that can polarise even a single
disciplinary community as a threat to the cultivating of interdisciplinary
relationships, this friction is viewed as the necessary ingredient to
creating the conditions to put the ‘Trans’ into disciplinarity Prof.
Phillips’ presentation will explore the importance of developing an
understanding of data as a creative ‘material’ and as a Rosetta Stone
for unlocking transdisciplinary dialogues and collaborations. Here the
‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’ research methods are understood as
a coherent whole.
Focus Group 2 led by Prof. Ross Harley and Peter Ride will focus on
transdisciplinary studio practice. Prof. Harley’s presentation will
briefly outline some of the successes and challenges encountered in the
process of working across disciplinary, cultural, and institutional
boundaries. This will be explored through the specific cross cultural
project that took place for two weeks in September 2009. More than sixty
art, design, and architecture students, practitioners and academics worked
on a live design brief in an intensive two-week studio at Donghua
University, Shanghai. e-SCAPE was a partnership between Professor Richard
Goodwin’s Porosity Studio, and The Collabor8 Project (C8), in
collaboration with Donghua University (Shanghai) and COFA (Sydney). Peter
Ride will be looking at the changing boundaries of curatorial practice,
which is becoming an increasingly an interdisciplinary activity. Using the
term that is current in Visual Culture, what constitutes a ‘visual
event’? Recent educational theories around fine arts practice-as-research
suggest that we can see the construction of meaning in practice as a point
of cognitive transference. Ride proposes that these models can be adapted
and used to explain the ‘visual event’ when the audience, too often
overlooked in the discussions of curatorial practice, meets the work and the
entire construction of meaning as an example of cognitive transference.
Focus Group 3 will discuss transdisciplinary theory. The group leaders
Darren Tofts and Wendy Coones will present productive possibilities opened
by transdisciplinary research practices within the university. Tofts will be
expanding on Edward Colless’s abstract by by focusing on the undisciplined
and inviting us to think of the “transdisciplinary” disruption, not as a
deregulation of academic discipline (as a cultural relativising of the arts
and sciences meeting on equal ground), but as an irregularity within
academic discipline; as an insurgency or “in-discipline” of academe. He
suggests that we use the prefix “trans” to suggest drift and errancy, as
disciplines cross each other with the eventful possibility of collision or
collusion but without the eventuality of their consensus. Tofts refers to
these crossing provocatively as an occultation, in that it induces an
esoteric knowledge not manifestly conferrable, discernible or communicable.
In this respect, the “transdisciplinary” induces an occulting of
disciplinary research by an abnormality or unnaturalism, which is to say it
offers a new manner of occult knowledge. Wendy Coones will be exploring the
possibility of emergence of polycultural space where formal education
curricula, digital and print dissemination points, common research tools,
national / international collaborations and continually developing
interaction structures meet. Taking into consideration the parameters of
individual endeavours and their possible influence on one another, a larger
image of the interconnectedness can be discussed.
Further information contact Marzena Topka [log in to unmask]
University of Brighton
School of Arts and Media
Director of ISEA International Headquarters
[log in to unmask]
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