Sunday, 30 November 2008

Two lectures

Designing indistinct systems: theory and practice of transdisciplinary research
Rolf Hughes and Ronald Jones
Experience Design Group, Deprtment of Interdisciplinary Studies, Konstfack

The aim of the workshop is to compare the claims made for, through and in artistic research to those promised by transdisciplinary research methodologies. Rolf Hughes will introduce the core concepts of practice-based research and discuss whether these are rapidly becoming institutional “orthodoxies”. Ronald Jones will then present an introduction to transdisciplinary premises and potentialities. Rolf Hughes will then provide a theoretical framing of disciplinary logics such as “borders”, “edges”, “material” and substance”, relating such theoretical concepts to a methodology we are developing at the Experience Design group (EDG) around trandsisciplinary research in practice. Ronald Jones will conclude the presentation with a discussion of existing transdisciplinary case studies in research and in artistic practice, including a new EDG research project funded by the Swedish Knoweldge Foundation (KK-Stiftelsen) on the theme Experience Design: The Future of Play.

13.00 8th December, Svarta Havet

Ronald Jones
Experience Design Group, Konstfack

The creative disciplines are undergoing the most significant paradigm shift in living memory prompting substantial adjustments to the core-values at some university art, design and architecture programs. As a result, a few of the most advanced programs in the world are educating designers, artists and architects with one goal: to make optimal impact in bringing rapid change to increasingly complex problems to give their graduates greater reach, responsibility, influence and relevance.

15.00 9th December, Svarta Havet

Friday, 28 November 2008

Iaspis Forum on Design and Critical Practice


Saturday 6 December
1 pm – late (exhibition open from 11am)
Venue: Konstnärsnämnden, Maria Skolgata 83, Stockholm
Free entrance, pre-registration only (limited availability):
Language: English
Bar with food and drinks

Welcome to Iaspis seminar on design and critical practice!

Participants: Julia Born; Mia Frostner, Robert Sollis, Paul Tisdell, Europa; James Goggin, Practice; Emily King; Zak Kyes; Armand Mevis, Mevis en van Deursen; Nille Svensson, Sweden Graphics
+ Ramia Mazé; Sara Kristoffersson; Jonas Williamsson, Reala; Martin Frostner; Magnus Ericson, Iaspis

Iaspis Forum on Design and Critical Practice comprises an exhibition, a seminar and a forthcoming publication on investigative, speculative and critical design practice.

What constitutes a critical approach in graphic design? What kind of strategies and methods are used by the practitioners in this field? What external conditions influence this kind of practice? What is the relation between critical practices in design, architecture and art?

Iaspis brings together several critical voices in contemporary graphic design, including Forms of Inquiry contributors, as well as curators, critics, and educators to discuss these issues, based on topics investigated within Forms of Inquiry and a set of conversations initiated for the seminar and the publication. Through an open format and a series of lectures, conversations and debates, the seminar aims to further discuss the importance and position of investigative, speculative and critical design practice.

As a manifestation, Iaspis Forum on Design and Critical Practice intends to facilitate international exchange of ideas and knowledge within an expanded field of design. It aims to be a space for reflection and debate and to inspire to further studies, exchange and actions within the field of design, architecture and art. The reader will be co-published in 2009 by Iaspis and Sternberg Press.

Program Saturday 6 December

The seminar starts at 1 pm and continues until approximately 10pm. In the Project Room and Studio at Iaspis. The program includes breaks. You are free to decide what parts of the program you would like to attend (doors will be open). Coffee, tea, food and drinks will be served from the bar (Please note, cash only). Limited availability, pre-registration only.

1pm Introduction
by Magnus Ericson, Project Manager Iaspis, Jonas Williamson, Martin Frostner and Moderator Emily King

1.30pm Zak Kyes
Lecture on the exhibition Forms of Inquiry: the Architecture of Critical Graphic design

2.30pm Julia Born
Lecture on Secret Instructions and This Side Up, and her collaboration with the Swiss performance artist Alexandra Bachzetsis


4pm James Goggin, Practice
Lecture on historical precedents of self-initiation and publishing in graphic design

5pm James Goggin, Practice och Mia Frostner, Robert Sollis, Paul Tisdell; Europa
Conversation where Europa and Practise compare contemporary interpretations of ‘relational design’.-- both as strategy and as something already inherent -- with their own graphic design practices

6pm Armand Mevis, Mevis en van Deursen
Lecture: Simple ideas, easy work! On Mevis en van Deursen practice and projects such as the identity for Museum Boijmans van Beuningen etc.

Break (food and drinks are available from the bar)

8pm Nille Svensson, Sweden Graphics
A conversation with Emily King about design and ideology

9pm Reflections + Open discussion
Sara Kristofferson, Ramia Mazé and others


The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s international program for visual artists

Maria Skolgata 83
118 53 Stockholm
Tel: +46 (0) 8-50 65 50 00


Alex Schweder

The relationship between occupied spaces and occupying bodies is a shifting one; we subjectively make our built world; thereafter it constructs us as occupying subjects. Working at the intersection of art and architecture, I understand our built environment as a site for playing out fantasies about our bodies. Drawing from a history of buildings designed around perfect bodies, my work seeks to expand this discourse to the experience of lived fleshy bodies. Architecture does not often pose difficult questions to its occupying bodies; art does not often publicly explore uncomfortable topics outside of museums and private spaces. However, at their intersection art and architecture might more productively explore the complicated facets of being human.

Speaker: Alex Schweder is the 2005–2006 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture. Since this time, Schweder has been experimenting with time and performance based architecture including Flatland at New York's Sculpture Center 2007, This Apple Tastes Like Our Living Room Used to Smell presented at Western Bridge in Seattle 2007, Melting Instructions presented at the Tacoma Art Museum 2007, Homing MacGuffin during New York's Homebase III project 2008, The End of Endless to be presented at the Santa Fe Center For Contemporary Art 2009, and A Sac of Rooms All Day Long to be shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 2009. His work has also been exhibited nationally and internationally including Henry Urbach Architecture in New York, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma. Schweder is the author of 'Stalls Between Walls', in Ladies and Gents, the Gendering of Public Toilets. He is a three time artist in residence at the Kohler company and will be in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Fall of 09. Schweder has been a guest professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in the Fall 07 for the seminar How to Perform Your Own Building. He holds a Masters in Architecture from Princeton University (1998) and a Bachelor in Architecture from Pratt Institute (1993).


Monday, 24 November 2008


6th European Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA ),
1st conference of the SLSA-EU, the European sister organization of the SLSA

Place and dates Riga/Liepaja (Latvia), 15-20 June, 2010
Main organizer Electronic Text + Textiles (e-t+t )
Venues Main site for the academic programme, reception, lunches:
The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE)
Other conference sites:
e-t+t; Latvian Centre for Contemporary Arts; Riga City Art Space (t.b.c.), Art Lab, University of Liepaja
Theme The SLSA-EU 2010 conference is dedicated to exploring fabrics, structures, surfaces, and interfaces in a world that has been transformed to a large extent through technoscience and networked media. This transformed world is highly textured, partly through verbal and non-verbal 'texts' but also by mixtures of human-made and given environments whose complexity offers resistance to symbolic readings.

Through the term, 'textures,' we aim to bring together transitional figures of thought in many fields:

in literary criticism: the movement from the material signifier to meaning, affect, and communication;
in the arts: the well-known 'resistance in the materials’;
in cognitive science: the transition from the neuronal to the mental;
in a textile: the construction of cloth and the surfacing of a pattern from the interwoven material threaded lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft);
in painting: the emergence of a whole through the patterning of smaller elements; the presentation of an 'all over' composition in a series of canvases;
in sound art: the blending of running water or traffic noise into a continuous sonic structure;
with regard to the body: the perpetual becoming-other of an allegedly fixed and bordered identity;
the ‘fold’ in Deleuze; the ‘tissue of quotations’ in Barthes, the ‘weave’ in Derrida, the feminist spider's embodied writing of gendered subjectivity, and other materialist readings of familiar poststructuralist conceits;
etc. (please send us your ideas)

The list is meant to be suggestive, not restrictive, of the range of interests we hope to accommodate. As the conscious embrace of constraints – in science, literature and the arts – , can be productive not narrowing, so is our theme designed to be generative and to stitch together the diverse theoretical and transdisciplinary approaches that have long defined SLSA research.

Call for Abstracts

The main conference site, The Stockholm School of Economics, is equipped with state of the art technology, but the newness and limited resources of the main organizer, e-t+t, means that we must restrict the conference to 120 papers.

Deadlines and Submission Address

Submission of abstract (300 words): end of June 2009
Notification by e-t+t: end of August 2009
Registrations: from September 2009; early bird rate:
170€ up to end of January 2010, then 200€
Paper submission: end of March 2010

All proposals should be sent to a single email address:

Please see the e-t+t website for updates:

We look forward to your participation.

Zane Berzina, Manuela Rossini, Joseph Tabbi (Co-Creative Directors of e-t+t),

Anda Klavina, Haralds Matulis (Site hosts),

and local and international partners

The Association for Integrative Studies

Raymond C. Miller Receives the AIS Kenneth Boulding Award

The Association for Integrative Studies recently recognized Professor Raymond Miller as the recipient of the Kenneth Boulding Award during its 30th anniversary conference in Springfield, Illinois. The Boulding Award is the organization’s highest honor bestowed on scholars and teachers whose work has made major, long-term contributions to the concept or enactment of interdisciplinarity. Recipients of the Boulding Award have given extraordinary service to the interdisciplinary community by clarifying and expanding the concept of interdisciplinarity and by deepening the scholarly or public understanding of interdisciplinary inquiry through a combination of teaching, scholarship, and integrative community involvement.
Miller is a past president, journal editor, and long-time member of AIS. He is also the past president of the Society for International Development and Professor Emeritus of International Relations and Social Science at San Francisco State University. He received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University and his M.A. from the University of Chicago. His culminating work, International Political Economy, Contrasting World Views, was published by Routledge Press this past summer. Miller’s “courage in service of the public good” was cited as a key feature of his commitment to creating social change. Miller’s contributions to interdisciplinary discourse and its applications have extended beyond the academy into city and regional government, where he served for three terms as mayor of Brisbane, California, and as member of Mateo County commissions on planning, governance, and transportation.

Past winners of this award include: Kenneth Boulding (1990), Ernest Boyer (1993), Jerry Gaff (1993), Julie Thompson Klein (2003) and William H. Newell (2003).
CONTACT: Pauline D. Gagnon, President, Association for Integrative Studies

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Transdisciplinary Studio Schedule

Tuesday 25 November

10-13: Supervision - check on work-in-progress RJ+RH

Friday 12 December

10-12 Transdisciplinary Studio Final Crit RJ + RH + guest critic(s)

Monday, 17 November 2008



Review of:

By Robert Scott Root-Bernstein.
Illustrated. 501 pp. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press. $35.

Seeing that science, with its exponential growth, has blossomed a millionfold since the 1600's, why are we not witnessing a millionfold increase in the number of fundamental discoveries, Robert Scott Root-Bernstein wonders in ''Discovering.'' Scientific revolutions, the kinds of upheavals that dramatically alter our view of nature, spring up at a rather constant pace, he claims. Where are the thousands of Newtons, Darwins and Einsteins that should now be walking the earth? The modern publication explosion in science has arrived without a commensurate explosion in astounding revelations. Has science, in all its manifestations, now become so bureaucratic that it ends up sabotaging those who would discover?


Transvergence in Art History

by Ami Davis
Transdisciplinary art doesn't always fit into Western society's comfortable and complacent definitions of art. It is problematic because transvergence doesn't have a pre-established canon or other point of reference for us to distinguish "good" transvergence from "bad" transvergence. Academicians scramble to cram transvergence, or transdisciplinary arts, into the canon, to legitimize them and thrust them into academic discourse. Leonardo da Vinci was a transdisciplinary artist--is he is the icon of new media arts? Canonization, however, has been exposed as male-dominated, Eurocentric, and power-motivated. Transdisciplinary art history may be the perfect opportunity to explore a new academic discourse, one conscientious of such unbalanced and imperialistic motivations. However, the traditional tools offered by art history, a discipline with cultural baggage of its own, need to be re-examined if transdisciplinary projects are to fall within its scope. By exploring the aims of transvergence, and the historical limitations of art history, perhaps a dialogue can begin regarding how these projects can, or should be, labeled as "art."

The term "transvergence" is an invitation to take an opportunity to rethink art history, science, and the inevitably permeable lines that arbitrarily divide these disciplines. Transvergence demonstrates an attitude that the boundaries separating academic disciplines are restrictive. It exposes the artificial construction that art and science are opposites. However, societies continue to struggle with the idea that art and science can have compatible goals. Is the linear nature of art history therefore an appropriate means of documenting and discussing transdisciplinary arts? What does transvergence mean in the context of art?

Transvergence creates a distinction between art that is interdisciplinary and art that is transdisciplinary. In interdisciplinary pursuits, disciplines collaborate. Scientists and artists, commonly regarded as ideologically opposed practitioners, can intersect and contemplate their common relationships. However, these interacting disciplines ultimately retain their identities as isolated from each other. Transdisciplinary projects also have an agenda to explore common practices among disciplines, but with a more holistic approach. By transcending conventional notions of what appropriate activities within a discipline are, participants attempt to bridge disciplines in innovative ways. The result is that new commonalities are discovered among disciplines, which have implications for future innovative transvergent events. Interdisciplinary projects may not necessarily have this result. Gunter Von Hagens' plastination technique for preserving cadavers is one such project that attempts to touch on art and science as opposing disciplines, but results in little innovation for how these disciplines are culturally constructed.


What Is Art For?

Published: November 14, 2008 in New York Times

...There’s a line of Emerson’s from ‘Self-Reliance,’ ” Hyde told me one day in his office, “where he says of Benjamin Franklin: ‘Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin? Every great man is a unique.’ Well, it’s crazy! There’s a long list of masters who taught Franklin! And yet the Emersonian song is the one that sticks in everyone’s head.”

Suffice it to say that Hyde goes to heroic lengths to unstick it — and with a striking directness. A full 60 pages of his new manuscript are devoted to debunking the Emersonian view of Franklin as “America’s first self-made man” and replacing it with a portrait of Franklin as a “commoner,” a man whose defining talent was for absorbing, repurposing and synthesizing the culture around him, like some colonial M.C. The law of conservation of charge, the eponymous stove, the precise path of the Gulf Stream: Hyde shoves aside each of Franklin’s “discoveries” to uncover thick foundations of pre-existing knowledge and scientific collaboration. The point of all this is not to prove that Franklin wasn’t a genius but to show that his genius didn’t burst out of thin air. “It takes a capacious mind to play host to … others and to find new ways to combine what they have to offer,” Hyde writes, “but not a mind for whom there are no masters, not a ‘unique.’ Quite the opposite — this is a mind willing to be taught, willing to be inhabited, willing to labor in the cultural commons.”


Friday, 14 November 2008

Interview (October 12, 1969) with Robert Barry

I got involved with things intangible and immeasurable, physical, yet metaphysical in their effect. I wrote a letter to Charles Harrison of the Institute of Contemporary Art in London to include in any printed material for his show the idea for my piece: “THERE IS SOMETHING VERY CLOSE IN PLACE AND TIME, BUT NOT YET KNOWN TO ME.” This was not just a title, but a feeling about something. Another piece went to the museum in Leverkusen, Germany, also concerned with something, which was searching for me and which needs me to reveal itself, but is unknown to me. Lucy Lippard’s show in Seattle [1970] consisted of 100 index cards. So it was just on one of the index cards. There were quite a few pieces that tried to get at something. Yet because of the nature of something, it cannot be dealt with directly.

Would you care to tell how critics and collectors deal with your art?

There are no collectors, for there is nothing to collect.

More on Ubuweb.

TRIP Lab Groups

Group 1
Neha, Joachim, Alex

Group 2
Jacek and Johannes

Group 3
Basar, Michelle, Koji

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Creating Synthetic Identities in I'Myth: Zapping Zone

Diana Domingues
NTAV Lab, Universidade de Caxias do Sul
Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Master's Programme in Communication and Languages, Universidade Tuiuti
Curitiba, Paraná

Eliseo Reategui
Computer Science Department, Universidade de Caxias do Sul
Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul

Abstract. This paper presents an interactive and immersive installation that combines physical objects, virtual reality concepts and artificial intelligence to generate a hybrid place that blurs the limits between virtual and real. Mutant narratives emerge from representations of legendary individuals, or ‘myths,’ through categorised terms and virtual images. Genetic algorithms control the evolution of a population to generate new individuals with original features and images. These images are rendered in real time, using a proprietary graphics library that exploits functions such as dynamic meshing, morphing and blending, allied to lighting and texture synthesis.

Paper here.

Monday, 10 November 2008



Until 1800 AD, the ability to record the timing of individual steps in any process was essentially limited to time scales amenable to direct sen- sory perception – for example, the eye’s ability to see the movement of a clock or the ear’s ability to recognize a tone. Anything more fleeting than the blink of an eye (~0.1 second) or the response of the ear (~0.1 millisecond) was simply beyond the realm of inquiry. In the nineteenth century, the technology was to change drastically, resolving time intervals into the sub-second domain. The famous motion pictures by Eadweard Muybridge (1878) of a galloping horse, by Etienne-Jules Marey (1894) of a righting cat, and by Harold Edgerton (mid-1900’s) of a bullet passing through an apple and other objects are examples of these developments, with millisecond to microsecond time resolution, using snapshot photography, chronophotography and stroboscopy, respectively. By the 1980’s, this resolution became ten orders of magnitude better [see Section III], reaching the femtosecond scale, the scale for atoms and molecules in motion.



Transdisciplinarity is a principle of scientific research that describes the application of scientific approaches to problems that transcend the boundaries of conventional academic disciplines. Such phenomena, such as the natural environment, energy, and health, are referred to as transdisciplinary.
A similar concept is interdisciplinarity which usually refers to collaborative projects in which scientists from several fields work together. In his work On Transdisciplinarity, Jürgen Mittelstrass argues that interdisciplinarity is actually transdisciplinarity:

"Interdisciplinarity properly understood does not commute between fields and disciplines, and it does not hover above them like an absolute spirit. Instead, it removes disciplinary impasses where these block the development of problems and the corresponding responses of research. Interdisciplinarity is in fact transdisciplinarity." The paper can be found at this link: [link] - it is near the end of the document.
A different approach of transdisciplinarity that the one of Mittelstrass was developed from 1987 by the 163 researchers of the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research (CIRET). A Charter of Transdisciplinarity was adopted at the 1st World Congress of Transdisciplinarity (Convento da Arrabida, Portugal, november 1994).
In the CIRET approach, transdisciplinarity is radically distinct from interdisciplinarity.

Interdisciplinarity concerns the transfer of methods from one discipline to another. Like pluridisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity overflows the disciplines but its goal still remains within the framework of disciplinary research.

As the prefix "trans" indicates, transdisciplinarity (word introduced in 1970 by Jean Piaget)concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond all discipline. Its goal is the understanding of the present world, of which one of the imperatives is the unity of knowledge. The transdisciplinarity is defined by Basarab Nicolescu through three methodological postulates : the existence of levels of Reality, the logic of the included middle, and complexity.

In the presence of several levels of Reality the space between disciplines and beyond disciplines is full of information. Disciplinary research concerns, at most, one and the same level of Reality ; moreover, in most cases, it only concerns fragments of one level of Reality. On the contrary, transdisciplinarity concerns the dynamics engendered by the action of several levels of Reality at once . The discovery of these dynamics necessarily passes through disciplinary knowledge. While not a new discipline or a new superdiscipline, transdisciplinarity is nourished by disciplinary research; in turn, disciplinary research is clarified by transdisciplinary knowledge in a new, fertile way. In this sense, disciplinary and transdisciplinary research are not antagonistic but complementary.

As in the case of disciplinarity, transdisciplinary research is not antagonistic but complementary to multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity research. Transdisciplinarity is nevertheless radically distinct from multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity because of its goal, the understanding of the present world, which cannot be accomplished in the framework of disciplinary research. The goal of multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity always remains within the framework of disciplinary research. If transdisciplinarity is often confused with interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity (and by the same token, we note that interdisciplinarity is often confused with multidisciplinarity) this is explained in large part by the fact that all three overflow disciplinary boundaries. This confusion is very harmful, because it hides the huge potential of transdisciplinarity.