Friday, June 23, 2006

Metadisciplinarity? (article)

I found an interesting point in Intelligent Agent vol. 6 no. 1 "Doing Interface Ecology: The Practice of Metadisciplinarity" by Andruid Kerne:

The value that transdisciplinarity places on the practice of disciplinary assemblage is a good start. The problem is that trans- means, "across, to or on the farther side of, beyond, over." [31] Novak's transvergence moves this prescription forward by including an emphasis on connecting, but without theorizing the embodied practice of interface development. [32] While going across, beyond, and over disciplinary boundaries, the denotation of trans- is still lacking not only the structural imperative for assembling disciplines, but also a sense of how processes of disciplinary recombination are a formula for creating new knowledge. Nowotny observes that "Transdisciplinarity... is more than juxtaposition. ... If joint problem solving is the aim, then the means must provide for an integration of perspectives in the identification, formulation and resolution of what has to become a shared problem." [33] But, what are the structures and processes that catalyze this type of integration?

Kerne concludes:

The structure of metadisciplinarity connects theory and practice. ...These modes of practice are inseparable. Metadisciplinarity develops an awareness of the structures of situated disciplines that form relationships in interfaces. Through its practice, and intentional cultivation of these relationships, we can create hybrid forms of representation.

By viewing design as an integrative discipline and the generator of hybrid cultural forms it presents diverse design practitioners with opportunities to rethink design as a cultural driver of enormous magnitude in the conjunction of these other domains. Design, architecture and art may be discrete disciplines, but they have common characteristics that bring them into relation with one another. Practitioners are exploiting this relationship to bring together cultural commentary with aesthetics. In these instances the object isn't what changes – rather it is the audience’s perception of the object and its cultural context that is transformed.

In the anti-authorial literary theory of Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault the relationship between discourse and object is separated and articulated as a rupture within Modernism's attempt to produce a thing that would speak for itself. Barthes states that each text comprises multiple layers and plural meanings. Therefore readers of texts must divorce a literary work from its creator in order to liberate it from ‘interpretive tyranny’. In this sense the essential meaning of a work depends not on the impressions of the reader but rather on its audience. For Foucault, a ‘discourse’ is a body of thought and writing that is united by having a common object of study, a common methodology, and/or a set of common terms and ideas. Foucault discusses the idea of a transdiscursive position - those who are initiators of discursive practices, not just of individual texts.

Obviously within academia the boundaries of a discipline are important. However, in practice it seems that the ongoing discourse is more significant. Perhaps instead of speculating about new hybrid domains we should be placing emphasis on what it means to take transdiscursive positions?

No comments:

Blog Archive

My Portfolio

John Marshall Portfolio

My Linkedin Profile

View John Marshall's profile on LinkedIn

rootoftwo's shared items


I am exploring a hybrid form of art and design practice through the use of computer-based design and fabrication tools. I am interested in experimental objects and spaces that are dynamic and responsive and seek to challenge perceptions, expectations and established behavior.

Creative Commons


Site Meter