September 2007 Archives

Why transdisciplinary?

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For this entry I thought I would explain a bit about my background and in so doing ... hopefully... explain why I am so interested in Art-Science transdisciplinary projects.

I am what I like to call a baby artist. I have only worked in Art for two years now. In standard 6 in response to my first art project in highschool my teacher said:"don't worry dear.. you are so good at science...stick to that" And so my box was formed. Thats unfair. I can't blame her but this is the kind of thing people would say to me and so I dutifully took on that role. When I left school I took a gap year which was supposed to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life but lets just say soul searching took a back seat to partying and so when I returned I went straight into Electrical Engineering with no idea as to why. Hey I was good at it and I could get in so why not?

I learned so much from my engineering degree and specialised in electronics and software design but I always felt unfulfilled and stifled. I needed creativity in a different form but by my final year had no idea how I was going to achieve this. Then I heard about a masters course run by the Digital Arts department of The Wits School of Arts. This course accepted people with art or science honours and offered a masters degree in "Interactive Media Design". To tell you the truth I really didn't think I would get in or would be able to do the course but I was determined to try. Turns out I got in and loved it!! Finally I had the type of creative freedom I was craving but was still able to use my technical ability. And then I hit the next barrier. Now that I was creating "art" my engineering colleagues didn't take my work seriously anymore and some artists looked down on my use of tech in my pieces.

I was stuck in the middle between two supposedly dichotomous fields. The more I thought about this position I now found myself in the more I realised that I wouldn't have it any other way. I just was not able to be an artist or a scientist.. i was both. This sparked my curiosity about interdisciplinary work but I just didn't think that interdisciplinary truly described how I wanted to work. Then I can across the term transdisciplinary. To me this truly described how I wanted to work and opened up a whole new world to me. Working between, across and beyond disciplines!!!

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