Monday, 30 May 2011

Transdisciplinary Arts

The article below is reproduced from the Huffington Post. The app was  developed by Cuttlefish Multimedia Loughborough who have just created a basic related  platform in concert with an sKTP with DMU/IOCT. It is a good example of a traditional discipline changing and adapting to new technology :

In art and myth, the journey is usually a heroic quest, dripping with metaphor. But what if a journey involves, instead of a highly-sought destination and revelation, simply bouncing between ports in the most banal way possible, like on the cross-channel ferry between Dover and Calais?

2011-05-25-faithfullscreenshot.jpgFor artist Simon Faithfull, the anti-heroic banality of this crossing made it a perfect launching ground for his Limbo project (commissioned by the Film and Video Umbrella), which transmits and geo-locates, in real time, digital drawings made by Faithfull via a custom-made iPhone app. For a full six days (May 14th through 19th), Faithfull stayed on the ferry for an unorthodox artist residency orchestrated by artconnexion, a French art organization, going back and forth in this "window between states" while he created -- and instantly broadcast -- drawings on his iPhone. (They can be viewed not only via the iPhone app, but by following the project on Facebook or Twitter. ) Drawings of the water, fellow passengers, passing ships, luggage, signs, shorelines, and docks were all posted in real time via the app, along with precise latitude and longitude. The ubiquitous nature of smartphone use is such that Faithfull was able to carry out this residency in perfect anonymity, looking like any other passenger passing the time checking e-mails or text messaging.

As a teaching artist who splits his time between London and Berlin, and thus spends a considerable amount of time in airports, Faithfull is all too familiar with those never-thrilling netherworlds between states; this experience has been part of the inspiration for Limbo, the premise of which is to turn that negative into a positive with a mobile studio that broadcasts to the world.
2011-05-25-faithfullbreeze.jpgFaithfull has been making electronic device drawings for over 10 years -- in 2004 he traveled to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey on an Arts Council fellowship, where he transmitted via email drawings made on a Palm Pilot -- so in addition to broadcasting new drawings as they are completed, the Limbo app presents a full geo-located catalogue of over 500 observational sketches that Faithfull has made throughout the world over the years. The app provides a world map view, allowing the user to find drawings near their current location or anyplace they select.

The bespoke Limbo app created for Faithfull by Jude Venn of Cuttlefish is customized not only in terms of the user experience, but on the level of the drawing program. Unlike older devices, the new smartphone drawing programs tend to render anti-aliased lines -- creating a smooth non-pixelated stroke; but Faithfull wanted to keep the raw pixel quality of his early Palm Pilot work, so his drawing program allows for a more low-tech, jagged line. "I'm not interested in having the program interpret and try to correct my strokes," he says, "It's a jagged line but it's my jagged line."

Faithfull describes Limbo, which carries the subtitle "an expanding atlas of subjectivity," as an open ended project; he will continue indefinitely to create and transmit drawings wherever he goes, "mapping my subjective take on the world."

About that subjectivity: Faithfull is interested in the power of day-to-day observations, which, when translated into memories become a highly personalized reality, "a sort of parallel world." Limbo, likewise, begins with observational, subjective sketches which, once they are posted online or broadcast to iPhones, become a powerful memory world that eventually seems more real than its subjects. So real are these drawings that Faithfull occasionally sees the real world in a strange new light. He notes how odd it seems to go back to a place he's drawn: "It jumps out and seems bizarre that it actually exists...It seems the world is copying me instead of me copying the world."

For more on the Limbo project, as well as Simon Faithfull's other projects, visit To follow on your iPhone, Limbo app is available on the iTunes app store.

Images Reproduced courtesy of Simon Faithfull.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

P{e/a}r{i/a}meter: CIRCLE Research Symposium

12:00  - 17:00, 6th June 2011
Inspace, University of Edinburgh

A half day of talks and presentations exploring the synergies across the CIRCLE research group: Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Collaborative Environments. With 38 members and associates, the CIRCLE research group encompasses many disciplines across the arts and sciences. The event intends to provide insight into the activities of CIRCLE members through four thematic sessions: Activity, Forms, Gaze and Within. Participants have been invited to Ogravitate¹ toward a theme and contribute to the organisation of each timed slot.

Each 45 minute session will consist of a synthesis of theoretical explorations and practical work. Everyone is invited to the event and given the broad and deep expertise of CIRCLE group members the afternoon promises to be a lively and insightful event. Consisting of papers, demonstrations and other presentations the event will reflect upon over four years of inquiry into Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Collaborative Environments.

CIRCLE's members are researchers and creative practitioners at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and elsewhere. They work across the visual and performing arts, architecture, the humanities, the physical and social sciences. Their research focuses on developing collaborative creative environments employing methods from across diverse disciplines. Their aim is to develop effective and affecting interactive environments within a critical framework seeking the insights that interdisciplinary inquiry might allow.
This is a free event but it would help if you could indicate your wish to

1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB

Simon Biggs

Monday, 23 May 2011

Left Brain/Right Brain

We recommend you take a look at the words of Iain McGilchrist - author of "The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain". His ideas on how the two hemispheres of the brain "see" the world differently will resonate with anyone who has worked across disciplines, especially between the arts and sciences. There is a good RSA talk on YouTube where he introduces his ideas at:

Thanks to Sean Clark

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Critical and Creative Thought Module

One action point from the May TD Group Meeting was to provide a ‘landscape’
of the discussions shaping the module Critical and Creative Thought.

The template was discussed verbally , then on a hosted a Google Doc
allowing the Group to view & request edit. The end-points  of previous meeting minutes and email discussions. We believe that this  represents a more or less consensus view and is close to encapsulating the  discussions and tendencies of the group so far.

If you have any comments or thoughts, please feel free to send these to
Sam Bamkin <>  for both incorporation into the landscape and discussion  by the group. Do not hesitate to do so. We also welcome new Group members  from those committed to developing this module with the caveat that we do so
without any promise of success. The path to completion is beset with  adversity.

Friday, 20 May 2011

InterTexts - a one-day conference on interdisciplinarity

Call for papers: InterTexts - a one-day conference on interdisciplinarity

Durham University, Durham, UK

Friday, 23rd September 2011

Abstract submission deadline: 10th June 2011

The tradition of working across disciplinary boundaries has a long history: literature and visual arts, literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, all feature prominently in the field of literary studies. At present, when humanities face escalating  funding challenges and a constant requirement to justify and validate the research carried out, literary scholars increasingly look at other disciplines, expanding their  field of inquiry and contributing to a proliferation of research in areas such as literature and law, literature and science, literature and medicine, literature and ecology.

This conference aims to give postgraduate and early career researchers working on interdisciplinary projects an opportunity to present their work and contribute to the discussion on the developments of interdisciplinary research within literary studies. Alongside traditional panels, we will be offering workshops that deal with practical issues, resources and challenges of conducting interdisciplinary research within one of the five interdisciplinary fields at the core of the conference (Literature and Law, Literature and Science, Medical Humanities, Literature and Visual Arts and Literature and Music).

We invite papers focusing on any issue within one of the following interdisciplinary fields:

Literature and Law

Literature and Science

Medical Humanities

Literature and Visual Arts

Literature and Music.

We also welcome proposals discussing challenges and demands of conducting interdisciplinary research. These could include, but are not limited to: proliferation of interdisciplinary research, the value of interdisciplinarity, the future of interdisciplinarity, traditional humanities vs. interdisciplinary research, implications of interdisciplinarity for literary scholarship, traditional methodologies and interdisciplinary research, interdisciplinarity and canonisation or how, if at all, do we define canons within interdisciplinary fields.

Authors of selected proposals will be invited to submit an extended version of their paper for consideration by the editorial board of Durham's Postgraduate English journal. The papers will be considered for publication in the special issue of the journal focusing on interdisciplinarity, celebrating ten years of the journal, and coinciding with the launch of its new website.

Please send 250-300 word abstracts proposing 20 minute papers to Kaja Marczewska ( <> ) by 10th June 2011.

Notifications of acceptance, together with more information about Postgraduate English publication opportunities will be sent by 17th June 2011.



website: <>

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Well...we want to create a space at De Montfort University where open thinking can develop around Transdisciplinary practice. Where people can genuinely relax and talk, where they serve good coffee and there are the comforts of home.

Everyone who has access via their staff card or PhD student card will be welcome and they can leave a trace of themselves or any idea that they might have for others to consider. Nothing will be sacred or profane- and we want to develop new practice in course design, research and pedagogy.

If the silo mentality is akin to a machine: pigs in at one end... and sausages out the other, we want to ask "what if?"  and put sausages in at one end and get live pigs out at the other. A sort of uncertainty engine. Perfect for the times we live in and for developing genuine innovation.

How will we undertake this experiment? Toby Moores of Sleepydog is willing to fund us for a period and develop our haven/crucible/hub/fountain-as you can see we are still searching for a name, and a suitable space on campus-an ideal drop-in space for staff and visitors alike between the faculties.

This will become in time, we hope, a catalyst and repository of good ideas about transdisciplinary practice, starting within the university and working outwards like ripples in a pool.With any luck all will be in place for September.

We hope in time to get a researcher appointed and to invite in several research fellows to act as animateurs. We can start with our own BIG PROBLEM: defining and implementing Transdisciplinarity.