We have entered a post-post studio age, and find ourselves with a new studio model: the transdisciplinary. Artists and designers are now defined not by their discipline but by the fluidity with which their practices move between the fields of architecture, art and design. Alex Coles, The Transdisciplinary studio, 2012, Sternberg Press
A preparatory workshop at the University of Edinburgh brought together architects, architecture theorists, experts in social and political Science, in art theory and research to examine opportunities offered within the MENA::NORDEN project in relation to the fluidity of practices. A number of questions were discussed including disciplinary methods and techniques and the impact that interdisciplinary activity can have on artistic work.
The questions opened up a space for dialogue and reflection and we shall seek to involve others in the project to contribute with their thinking to some of these issues:
[How] does disciplinary work alter and transform when moving across disciplines and practices?
Is ‘doing nothing’ a valid response to an artists’ residency, or is there a pre-condition that particular output will emerge?
Is an enhanced, challenged or learnt practice a possible outcome of a residency?
How are ephemeral practices documented and disseminated?
Some practices of in-situ and multidisciplinary working (eg Taragalte Desert Lab) depend on living and working directly in a community.
Working with place is a process of witness, where exposure to strangeness, and being ‘defamiliarised’ offers new insights and ways of approaching place, and project work (as in Jason O’Shaughnessy’s Island Territory).
Architecture often works in spaces of representation, rather on the actual place itself.
Is there a potentially productive blur between the propositional and analytical in architectural practice-inquiry work?
We hope that these questions may provoke a discussion about issues related to the fluidity of practice and the impact of how dispersing and slipping work into alternative spaces can become a strategy for situating problematics.