04. Transdisciplinary Practice - Project in Context
Daad Geem's work so far has been inherently interdisciplinary. As professional creative individuals, we rely on technology in our work. Technology has not only provided us with essential tools for self-expression and creation, it also enabled new ways of collaboration to be developed as well as provided us with a platform that we can use to communicate with our community.
“The final avant-garde, if one should call it that, of the twentieth century is that art which engages the most enduring revolution in a century of revolutions: the technological revolution. Initiated by inventions outside the world of art, technology-based art (encompassing and range of practices from photography to film to video to virtual reality, and much else in between) has directed art into areas once dominated by engineers and technicians.” (Rush, 1999)
Our daily duties over the years have grown to include Art & Design, marketing & social media management, research & outreach, web design, and public speaking. Despite having no formal training in any of these fields. We have also striked a balance with working collaboratively and individually so that our work for the collective is cohesive yet still retains our individual styles.
Overall, this project has been an excellent opportunity for Daad Geem to adopt a transdisciplinary approach to our work. Adopting the Creative inquiry model for transdisciplinary methodology in our work has helped us not only define our project’s main goal but also refine it and narrow it down to a more sizeable theme. It also encouraged us to have a critical approach to our work from the early design and sketching phase and seek the advice and help from professional historians who helped us reframe the whole project and encouraged us to include some educational insight to our collection.
Currently, the collection is in its final stages of design and is almost ready to move onto the production process. Although we are using the Creative inquiry model for transdisciplinarity, at this point in time, we believe that the project is currently hovering on the edges of interdisciplinarity as we attempt to bypass the “silo” effect of different disciplines by collaborating with experts in their own field to create a product that is innovative, aesthetically pleasing, culturally accurate and insightful.
“One effect of modern technology such as the Internet and the world wide web has been to break down traditional barriers. Formerly, collaborators were co-located within the same physical unit or structure in order to facilitate inter-working. Virtual working now allows researchers to collaborate across time and space, sharing ideas, theories, experiments, simulations, and results. In theory, academic boundaries know no boundaries.” (Susan Liggett, 2013)
Me being in the UK has posed little difficulty in communicating with other members of Daad Geem due to having grown accustomed to this virtual mode of working as we split our time between our professional work and our work for the collective. Our Interdisciplinary way of working helps us utilize the skills we gain from our professional work as well as develop and nurture new skills as we contribute to the growth of the collective. Interdisciplinarity has driven into the center of attention as a widespread approach to enhance creativity, learning, team performance and innovation. (Regina Moirano, 2020)
Throughout my research around transdisciplinarity, many researchers and academic texts seem to approach transdisciplinarity in art by its ability to integrate with STEM subjects. For instance, in the STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Journal's inaugural issue, John Maeda, past president of RISD and leading architect of the STEAM movement, states that “Design creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is” (Maeda, 2013) While I find this statement to be true, It is also important to note that the concept of transdisciplinarity is a fairly recent concept, the notion of transdisciplinarity was introduced at the beginning of the 1970s remained undeveloped and almost uncited until the early 1990s (Bernstein, 2015), attempting to diminish its meaning to the integration of art and science seems counterintuitive.
Therefore, We will be using the following definitions used by Bernstein to determine if our project is transdisciplinary:
Transdisciplinarity involves work that creatively re-imagines the disciplines and the possibilities for combining them. While the distinction between transdisciplinarity vis-à-vis multidisciplinarity (collected inputs from different disciplines without synthesis), and interdisciplinarity (collaboration between researchers from different disciplines aimed at a synthesis and integration of knowledge) need not be sharp or absolute, transdisciplinarity generally rejects the separation and distribution of topics and scholarly approaches into disciplinary “silos” Transdisciplinary work challenges the entire framework of disciplinary thinking and seeks to assemble new approaches from scratch, using materials from existing scholarly disciplines for new purposes.
Based on the definitions above, we believe that our current interdisciplinary project will transform into a transdisciplinary one as we get ready to launch the collection offline and collaborate with museums, businesses and art establishments both locally and abroad. By stepping away from our primarily creative positions for the collective and adopting a more “joint problem solving” methodology, We hope to start healthy conversations among artists, curators and businesses in our community. We also hope that our line not only proposes a welcomed reformation to how museum gift shops curate their products but also generates interest among young members of our community to actively take part in connecting with heritage and seek out more educational information about it.
Since transdisciplinarity has no boundaries (Nicolescu, 2014), it is difficult to predict where this project might go in the future. However, our duty as transdisciplinary practitioners is to stay receptive and agile and facilitate a continuous stream of inquiry, knowledge sharing and creativity.
Bernstein, J. H., 2015. Transdisciplinarity: A Review of Its Origins, Development, and Current Issues. Journal of Research Practice.
Maeda, J., 2013. Article 34. STEM + Art = STEAM. The STEAM Journal, Volume 1.
Nicolescu, B., 2014. Methodology of Transdisciplinarity. World Futures, Volume 70.
Regina Moirano, M. A. S. L. Š., 2020. Creative interdisciplinary collaboration: A systematic literature review. Thinking Skills and Creativity, Volume 35.
Rush, M., 1999. New Media in Late 20th Century Art. s.l.:Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Susan Liggett, K. H. R. E., 2013. Interdisciplinary collaboration methodologies in art, design and media.