A COLLABORATIVE TRANSDISCIPLINARY SPACE
THE ZONE is a transdisciplinary collaboration seeking to define a third space for exploration, a new conceptual and performative dimension beyond those of the arts and the sciences.
THE ZONE is a meeting place, where experimenters and explorers are not defined by titles or disciplines, but by what lies between their knowledge network and personal experience.
Both visual arts and the natural sciences have an extensive history of collecting and presenting their knowledge through institutions. Institutional environments have long determined the conditions of this presentation, often governing and constraining the manners and languages within which these disciplines are expressed and accessed. Despite deep and ongoing connections and intersections concerning inquiry and exploration in the arts and the sciences, when it comes to exhibiting their work, the information is largely partitioned and taken out of its complex native context.
The challenges created by economic and political turmoil around the world not only generate socio-cultural complexities, but also lead to a set of crises in both disciplines. Eventually, the resulting survival mode leads to polarization and drives both arts and science into an intellectual corner. It narrows the range of possible forms of exploration and constricts the perspectives that are considered valid or valuable in each field.
Both institutional and intellectual constraints reinforce each other, generating a void that isolates and separates our personal and scientific processes of sense-making. This prevents many of us to be truly present in our lives, to properly sense and grab the opportunities inherent in a world that is more dynamic, complex, and interconnected than ever.
Potential solutions to this far-reaching and fundamental problem require new kinds of integrated and holistic sense-making, combining artistic and scientific ways of seeing and exploring the world. The idea is not to find an intersection between arts & science, to translate one into the other, or to bridge the gap between the two. Instead, we explicitly recognize the dialectic tension between our first- and third-person perspectives on reality as a potential source of a new kind of embodied knowledge, the foundation of a new intellectual eco-system—the Zone. Exploring this new conceptual dimension will take us into directions that neither artistic nor scientific methods can explore on their own. This is the central impulse behind this project.
Exploration of the Zone calls for the development of an entirely novel transdisciplinary approach to inquiry and curation. To this end, Basak Senova, Bronwyn Lace, Marcus Neustetter, and Johannes Jaeger are engaging in a practice-led research program that explores, questions, and displaces the traditional domains of curatorial, artistic, and scientific processes. Each brings with them an existing network of collaborators and audiences from their own specific backgrounds and experiences. Geographically, this network ranges from northern Scandinavia across Central and Eastern Europe, via the Mediterranean, Middle East and into North Africa, West and East Africa, and on to Southern Africa. Professionally, it ranges from curation to the visual and performance arts, to aesthetics and epistemology, to mathematics and the natural sciences.
From Vienna as the point of departure for the project—with its rich tradition of cross-fertilizatization between the arts and the sciences—the team will be engaging their existing networks of potential collaborators across Austria, with connections and past relevant projects in Lower and Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg, with the long-term aim in mind of expanding the Zone across the globe.
Research activities will be positioned in relation to relevant academic programs, exhibitions, journals, and projects to contextualize processes and outcomes in the Zone within broader debates about artistic and scientific expression and sense-making, and to relate it to relevant existing case studies.
PROCESS AND DIALOGUE
We take a fundamentally processual and emergentist approach. The precise means of collaboration in THE ZONE must be developed through a careful interweaving of artistic, philosophical, and scientific practices in response to the experience of inquiry and discovery itself. The central idea is to identify, build, and leverage off what exists. To sense the future from the present. The team has vast experience in manifesting innovative, alternative, and productive methods for enabling deep and meaningful dialogue across disciplines.
Conversations that are currently in progress are already manifesting in new opportunities and evolving transdisciplinary collaborations that map relevant case studies, and recruit local and international participants from selected arts and science institutions into the conversation.
As institutional participation is secured, the team will explore existing research and collections, engage more like-minded practitioners in the arts and the sciences, and create temporary and performative interventions in a variety of settings, such as museum exhibitions and collections, art venues, universities, research institutes, and various public spaces.
The project is generously supported by the Art and Culture Section of Federal Ministry Republic of Austria, Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport [Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport, Sektion für Kunst und Kultur].