Vitamin A: a modest proposal to introduce trace amounts of contemporary art into research by preparing students in art, design, engineering, and science for collaborative creative work, with the intention of saving Earth
Vitamin A: a modest proposal to introduce trace amounts of contemporary art into research by preparing students in art, design,
Vitamin A: a modest proposal to introduce trace amounts of contemporary art into research by preparing students in art, design, engineering, and science for collaborative creative work, with the intention of saving Earth
Meeting global challenges such as climate change requires cultural, “human-factor” innovation as well as technological invention . Integrating our knowledge resources in order to respond to the full scope of the challenges may increase the lifespan of our culture and the tenure of life on Earth. Rather than advocating for a defined form of knowledge integration, this paper proposes extending the basic toolkit of creative practitioners so that they can select and adapt the forms of knowledge integration to suit their problems. The intent is to reduce the conceptual barriers between domains. In particular, contemporary art’s emphasis on critique, paradox, and poetic thinking has made it an uneasy fit for educational systems rooted in a rational, modernist world view . These qualities, however, may facilitate the paradigm-shifting imaginative leaps required by our most difficult problems. We propose mapping the field of collaborative research and introducing students to a schema that interrelates their creative areas and introductory experience with cross-disciplinary collaboration. A flexible coursework structure, designed to partially fill a “hole” in our educational system, is suggested, as research shows that currently most collaborations arise through chance and personal relationships . While these factors will continue to be important in forming collaborations, we recall Louis Pasteur’s famous saying that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Furthermore, as standard organizational forms, such as school departments, academic conferences, and even white papers, exert subtle influences channeling thought along familiar paths, to develop and disseminate the map and coursework guidelines we suggest conceiving as an art event a cross-disciplinary symposium . In this spirit of formal innovation, we stretch slightly an accepted form of knowledge transmission—the white paper—augmenting the straightforward narrative with a chorus of quotes embodying voices from different domains of knowledge (and a bit of humor in our title).
“”knowledge has to be organized so that it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized…this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of the knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from the outside. In fact it’s exactly the opposite. Order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos…”
— writer William Gaddis , from the introduction to his novel J.R.,
Dalkey Archive Press Edition, Champaign, 1971/2012, p. 20
What does Gaddis mean by the “thin, perilous condition” of the order we impose on knowledge, and what does this have to do with training for collaborative research? The sense of his statement may be illuminated by reflecting on this list of 12th century liberal arts: “grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry;”  it outlines a different knowledge universe than the one with which we are familiar. It seems certain that scholars in 3012 will find our disciplines, our recipe for ordering knowledge, as redolent of our century as the list is of the 12th.
As we propose core course elements for preparing artists, designers, engineers, and scientists for collaborative research, the first point is to emphasize that categories of knowledge such as “fine art”, “graphic design,” “astrophysics”, or “mechanical engineering” are themselves the collaborative creative productions of our society. And as human creations, they are not immutable but are, excitingly, subject to change and development. In our historical moment, digital tools are enabling and driving new forms of research. The students who respond to the opportunity to think beyond the research traditions of their discipline—and we intend this work for advanced students, who, being grounded in the methods of their field, can share them with others—have the opportunity to contribute to this restructuring of knowledge.
The collaborative turn
“Researchers, like most ordinary people, tend to identify with their ingroup and ignore or even look down on neighboring disciplines. Yet most relevant topics we study today do not respect the historically grown disciplinary borders, and to make progress one must look beyond one’s own narrow point of view.”
— psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development
from Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, Viking, New York, 2007, p. 77
What we refer to as the “collaborative turn” can be tracked through developments in the English language. According to the 2011 Random House Dictionary, the word “interdisciplinary” first came into use during World War II, between 1935 and 1940, as a way to identify the mixing of knowledge disciplines and professions. Inter- has been joined by trans- and cross- disciplinary subjects and together they have spawned a welter of pursuits that didn’t exist in 1940: anthrozoology, astrobiology, bioinformatics, cognitive linguistics, computational chemistry, evolutionary literary theory, medical cybernetics, neuroaesthetics… in the sciences, the list of recombinant disciplines continues to grow.
Within fine art, hybrid media are now the norm. Considering that nearly three-quarters of the artists in one of the world’s major international art exhibitions, the Venice Biennale, draw on multiple disciplines including performance, film, and writing, “pure” painting and sculpture could be considered minority disciplines . And within art scholarship, “world art studies,” a global and multidisciplinary approach to visual art that draws upon anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and other fields in addition to art history, is emerging. 
The first rumblings of these changes roughly coincide with the development of cybernetics, information theory, and other sources of today’s digital technologies in the decade following World War II. The onslaught of “big data” that has ensued has increased the need for sophisticated visualization in science, raised new philosophical issues for society and therefore for artists, and given creative people in all fields powerful new tools. In this atmosphere of intellectual and societal change, it is not surprising that questions — research agendas, artistic inquiries, engineering problems, or design programs — that require information and methods from more than one arena are both more frequent and more important.
Some research suggests that while interdisciplinary collaboration is more challenging than working in homogeneous groups, when interdisciplinary groups are successful they produce greater innovation. The general knowledge and skills necessary for successful cross-disciplinary collaboration are therefore of increasing importance in all creative fields. The second foundational element is to present a cultural overview relating the study of collaboration to contemporary conditions and the currents of change in all knowledge fields.
Creativity and the relationship between domains
“Boundaries are the locus of the production of new knowledge. They are where the unexpected can be expected, where innovative and unorthodox solutions are found, where serendipity is likely, and where old ideas find new life.”
— computer scientist Gerhard Fischer,
from “Social Creativity: Turning Barriers into Opportunities for Collaborative Design,” http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/~gerhard/papers/pd04-final-submit.pdf [Accessed 10.25.12]
“Our job is to create language to speak to each other with respect.”
— innovator Rich Gold, quoted in
“Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Money,” a report by Michael Naimark for Leonardo Journal, p. 8
Some time in the 1990s, Rich Gold, who was a primary researcher on ubiquitous computing at Xerox PARC and the manager of the PARC artist-in-residence program (PAIR), created this diagram comparing the creative fields of art, design, engineering, and science, as they are practiced in Western culture.
Gold’s ideas were informed by his leadership experience in one of the most famously innovative interdisciplinary research centers of the twentieth century; thus they are a good starting point for considering education for collaborative creativity. But as discussed in the introduction, the organization of our cultural knowledge into categories is not fixed. When Gold formulated his matrix, he stereotyped the key ideas in the interests of clarity.* Decades later, each of the four sectors has been influenced by the “postmodern” or “post-colonial” ideas that developed in tandem with digital culture. Gold’s pithy summaries now allude to the past rather than the future. Thus we offer an updated version of his matrix.
Gold identified “self-expression” as the core of “Art”; contemporary artists may or may not incorporate “self-expression” in their practice. They operate within a greatly expanded field of material production which incorporates actions, digital games, lens-based media, and installation in addition to painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Conceptually, following the practice of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, artists aim to produce experiences and objects that stimulate emotion and thought, what evolutionary biologist Ellen Dissayanake would call “making special” .
In “Science,” Gold gave the key idea as “universal truth.” While the search for verifiable, repeatable results that hold true for our known world is still the heart of science, there is also a greater awareness of the limits of empiricism. The minds reasoning from data are human and the history of science offers many cautionary tales of scientific investigations distorted by cultural blind spots . Therefore, we have used language that emphasizes exploration, rather than authority, for the matrix.
If one keeps in mind that the boundaries between “Art” and “Design” have blurred considerably since the time of Gold’s matrix , his formulations for “Design” and “Engineering” are still close to the mark. But we have more articulated theories describing our use of the information embedded in our environment through design. (Here, we are thinking of the work of cognitive scientist Edwin Hutchins  and anthropologist Lucy Suchman , among others.) And the domain of engineering has been enlivened by “hacking,” the “reverse engineering” or unraveling and reworking of commercialized technologies in order to use them for other purposes than those for which they were originally intended. “Hacking” thereby questions values and social structures that are generally taken for granted, bringing a philosophical edge to engineering . So Gold’s “Design” and “Engineering” tags have been reworded to convey a greater sense of agency, with more emphasis on the creative contributions of designers and engineers.
In addition to changes within creative domains, the understanding of what it takes to be “creative” in any domain has shifted. The modernist model of creative “genius” in which innovation is attributed to the creative insight of one individual has yielded to a model of exceptional accomplishment in which individual ability is a necessary but insufficient condition of achievement, always modified by social and historical conditions .
Indeed, the importance of historical conditions has been suggested by the difficulty of recreating successful collaborations such as Xerox Parc, the organization of which Gold was a part. One such effort, Interval Research, was generously funded by entrepreneur Paul Allen in hope of mimicking Xerox Parc’s success in generating the “technology that will be important in the future.” The desired innovations failed to materialize, despite the number of brilliant individuals and the collaborative opportunities involved, and after seven years the pure research program was discontinued. 
While all four of our creative sectors value invention, it is rare for their educational tracks to include a study of creativity per se. Thus the third point in our guidelines is to offer participants an understanding of creative practice that relates their domains, acknowledging key points of similarity and difference, and considering the multi-dimensional factors involved in creative success.
The Gold Matrix demonstrates the potential of visual diagrams to quickly communicate such interrelationships. Since Gold’s time, the science of science has yielded detailed visualizations of interconnected themes and thinkers within science, such as those described in Katy Börner’s Atlas of Science: Visualizing What We Know (MIT Press, 2010). Our scientific authors wondered how collaborating with an artist might contribute to research, although they could easily see the value of an artist/designer in disseminating scientific work to the public. A map of cross-disciplinary, collaborative research would be a powerful tool to quickly demonstrate the potential of such investigations.
Unlearning and flexible role-playing
“…you are always going to be accused of being superficial, of reinventing the wheel, of never knowing enough about any one discipline…that would be true if you had to know everything about a discipline to understand how it worked — and I don’t think that is.”
— Anonymous research collaborator and research subject, quoted in Lisa R. Lattuca, Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching among College and University Faculty, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, 2001, p. 124
“Unlearning” may be as valuable to a creative group as learning. Given that general cultural knowledge will necessarily lag behind the most advanced research and creative production, and that to some degree artists, designers, engineers, and scientists are a “general public” to each other’s fields, students may hold ideas regarding each others’ domains that are not completely current. (For example, a scientist might think of art in terms of traditional media.) Students may also have ideas about their own discipline or decision-making based in past practices (“engineering is not a creative activity”), (“an artist should not be influenced by others”). “Unlearning” ideas that limit creative exchange is a continuing process, but the fourth guideline is intended to set that process in motion: Stimulate awareness of the models of “good science”, “good art,” “good design” and “good engineering” participants have in play through discussion of their aspirations (their values) and exemplars (best practices).
Even when collaborators have congruent interests and abilities, as might be the case for a new media artist and a computer scientist, in respect to the total knowledge of the group (even a “group” of two), each collaborator will be expert in some areas and amateur in others. These “knowledge gaps” create opportunities for fresh questions and insights but also require negotiation of leadership. In what we will call “instrumental” collaborations, where one type of knowledge is programmatically at the service of another (an artist illustrating a scientific finding, a scientist programming for an artist’s project, a designer making slides for an engineer’s presentation, an engineer creating material specifications for a designer’s product), creative leadership is effectively determined by the end goal.
Difficult problems that require an innovative approach, however, benefit from an improvisatory decision-making structure in which leadership roles shift according to the evolving needs of the research.  A fluid exchange of collaborators between leading and supporting roles may be necessary to make the most effective use of the group’s skills. Thus the fifth guideline: Build students’ repertoire of decision-making models by presenting varied historical examples of cross-disciplinary collaboration.
The discussion of models might range from the structured, large-scale professional collaboratories of a space mission as described by Benjamin Shaw  or the equally large-scale participatory and improvisatory performances organized by the art and programming group Blast Theory , to a small-scale partnership such as that between physicist James Crutchfield and sound artist David Dunn, which has produced both scientific papers  and performances. It might include long-lived collaborations such as Ant Farm , or project-based collaborations such as engaged in by the Raqs Media Collective, a group of three filmmakers who collaborate regularly with people from other professions . It might include partnerships that are both professional and personal, such as that of physicist James Gimzewski and artist Victoria Vesna  and agonist** relationships such as emerged in a group of rocketry pioneers, between Frank Malina and Jack Parsons. (The tenor of their work together was described by M.G. Lord: “The converse styes of Malina and Parsons were as essential to their motor as fuel and oxidizer. Yet they often led to conflict.”)  Collaborators might work together in person or through commercial communication tools such as Skype or with specialized tools such as the software developed by Julien Phalip, Ernest A. Edmonds, and David Jean to support remote collaboration in film scoring. 
We go into some detail with the examples above to demonstrate that there is no one recipe for structuring “hot groups,” as organizational psychologist Harold Leavitt termed particularly energized and inventive collaborations . While business and management literature (Leavitt was professor in the business school at Stanford University and a pioneer in the study of organizational behavior) includes many valuable studies of collaborative practice, popularizations of that literature often tender formulaic interpretations that may be part of the material students need to question or “unlearn.”*** “Brainstorming,” for example, is a group process that has entered into popular awareness as a route to creative ideas, despite research showing that generating ideas individually, before working on them with a group, is more productive .
From theory to practice
The difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory.
— Anonymous, quoted by artist Simon Penny
As the guidelines turn from theory to practice, the hubris of the attempt to compress such a complex study into seven points looms. Framing guidelines so fundamental that they can be applied across different time scales, and so potent that they might assist deep innovation, is the work of dreamers. Yet dreaming is consistent with our call to consider aspects of human experience that resist logic and measurement in tandem with the aspects that are amenable to reason. Acknowledging that the experience of collaboration that is possible in a workshop setting will be brief compared to the experience of a semester-long course, which is a small slice of the time that may be required to incubate a fruitful idea in the “real” world of research, we forge ahead to our sixth guideline: Define project groups and give participants an active experience of working together, at whatever scale circumstances allow.
Defining research questions and goals
“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution… To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”
— Albert Einstein & Leopold Infeld, from The Evolution of Physics, 1938, p. 92
“Gaps in our understanding (shared or individual), are continually revealed to us through the process of collective sustained enquiry. Once those gaps are identified, the creativity comes in trying to provide whatever artefacts we can find; relationships, metaphors, processes, functions, images and so on, in an attempt to fill them. This is done together, and often for each other.”
— Jane Prophet and Mark d’Inverno, from “Creative conflict in interdisciplinary collaboration: interpretation, scale and emergence,” http://www.academia.edu/193448/e
At the point of defining research questions, the most extreme differences between domains emerge. Artists typically address questions that have multiple and unstable “answers;” scientists typically define questions so that a stable answer is possible. Designers and engineers are often asked to begin work on a question that has already been defined. As articulated by artist Jane Prophet and computer scientist Mark d’Inverno in the quote above, from a paper on the work of their interdisciplinary stem cell research group, the discussion required to frame a problem together is a key part of the research process.
For our guidelines we assume that the degree of freedom project groups have in identifying problems is subject to instructors’ judgment of the participants’ skills and the particular educational situation; in a course for undergraduates beginning with suggested questions might be most effective while a workshop for postgraduates might at this point concentrate on developing questions together. We emphasize that while time may limit the experience to framing research questions or allow pursuing a research plan, the key educational component here is the experience of approaching a problem together. In situations that allow extended investigation, the variety of goals to which one group might aspire is shown by this list of outcomes from Prophet and d’Inverno’s group: 1) sole and co-authored papers in peer-reviewed medical journals, mathematical modelling journals, simulation journals, art journals and interdisciplinary journal 2) a mathematical model of the new paradigm 3) a dynamical simulation of the mathematical model 4) art installations exploring the nature of scientific representation 5) innovative interactive devices and systems: namely 3D illustrations of cells and their behaviour generated using Alife techniques 6) detailed documentation of all the processes involved in this project 
Assessment and the role of failure in success
“…we are introducing engineers to some unfamiliar behaviors: creative problem-solving using intuition, guesswork and a cheerful tolerance of failure.”
— S. Shankar Sastry, Dean of the College of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
“Innovation by Design,” BerkeleyENGINEER, University of California, Fall 2012 Vol. 2, p. 1
It will come as no surprise that the seventh and final guideline calls for reflecting and crystallising the experiences of the group in a form that participants may usefully recall as they go on about their careers. However, the form that we suggest is particular to the goal of building group creative process: Ask participants to articulate in verbal or visual form the failures and successes of their work together by the standards of other group members, as they understand them, and exchange with the group regarding their conclusions. Given the cultural tendency to emphasize experiences defined as “success” over experiences defined as “failure,” leaders may need to model giving respectful attention to “failure” and “gaps in understanding,” which as Prophet and d’Inverno so beautifully express in the passage quoted above, hold the potential to inform better questions.
The paper began with a proposal for flexible coursework guidelines, intended to seed knowledge of methods and models of cross-disciplinary collaboration in the creative communities of art, design, engineering, and science. In preparing the guidelines, the authors identified the additional need for a “map” that could be used to efficiently alert researchers to the potentials of cross-disciplinary collaboration, organizing the history of such knowledge co-production. The guidelines and map are intended as tools to enhance communication and stimulate vision, making it easier for researchers to jump over the obstacle of disciplinary “silos.”
1. We suggest that a consortium of universities and art schools sponsor a year-long collaborative research project joining researchers knowledgeable in the “science of science” with scholars of art, science, and technology, and information designers, to undertake the scholarly and visual mapping of the themes and paradigms of collaborative art, science, and technology work over the past twenty years. (cf the “Map of Scientific Paradigms,” Kevin W. Boyack and Richard Klavans, SciTech Strategies, Inc., from the “Atlas of Science,” Visualizing What We Know, Katy Borner, MIT Press, 2010. This map is accessible online at: http://scimaps.org/maps/map/map_of_scientific_pa_55/).
2. We suggest that the consortium present the resulting research and visual map professionally, targeting a cross-disciplinary academic audience by supporting the presentation of papers at the widest possible array of conferences, with the goal of reaching professional meetings in all four areas of creative research (art, design, engineering, and science).
3. We suggest that the consortium present the resulting research and visual map publicly, targeting widely-read science and art publications and sophisticated general interest publications with images and analysis written for an informed general public.
4. We suggest that a cross-disciplinary symposium, co-sponsored by institutions recognized to be leaders in each of the four areas of creative research, be organized with sessions patterned on the content guidelines set out in this paper. The proposed symposium is envisioned not as business-as-usual, but as a meeting with a degree of “art” (surprises and challenges) in the form of the meeting. In critical theory terms, the meeting would be conceptualized as a “text” synthesizing research that is also in and of itself, a form of creative work and not simply a “report” on work that has already taken place. The overt goal of of the meeting would be to test and develop the guidelines and address the field mapping research; while the subtext would be to create meaningful, exploratory cross-disciplinary encounters.
* When space allowed, as in his posthumously published book The Plenitude: Creativity, Innovation, and Making Stuff (2007), Gold demonstrated the nuanced understanding of each domain he had developed as a contributor to all four areas.
** Here we use “agonist” in the sense developed by political theorist Chantal Mouffe. As scholar Nathaniel Tkacz writes in a gloss on Mouffe’s work, “Whereas antagonisms can quickly spiral into violent conflict, agonistic relations involve a mutual respect for “the other”, the recognition of and tolerance toward difference, and a perceived legitimacy in processes of mediation.”
*** We acknowledge the irony of criticizing an approach as “formulaic” in a paper that is structured as a set of guidelines. We trust that our properly skeptical readers will take this proposal in an exploratory spirit.
Important contributions to this paper were made by advisors David Bates, Director, Berkeley Center for New Media, University of California, Berkeley; Jesus Beltran, Filmmaker, Zumpango Films and Mechanical Design Engineer, Function Engineering, Palo Alto; Marina McDougall, Director, Center for Art as Inquiry, Exploratorium, San Francisco; Sarah McMenamin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Evolutionary Biology, University of Washington, Seattle; Miriah Meyer, Assistant Professor, School of Computing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; John Roloff, Professor of Sculpture, San Francisco Art Institute; Susan Schwartzenberg, Senior Artist, Exploratorium, San Francisco. Anwyl McDonald and Marcia Tanner served as first readers.
1. At least this was the conclusion of the United Nations, which has sponsored the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change since 2006. http://www.ihdp.unu.edu/article/read/history [Accessed 10.25.12]
2. Biggs, Michael, Daniela Büchler, Simeon Nelson, “Social Dynamics of Knowledge Communication within Higher Education: The Case of an Art-Science Collaboration,” uhra.herts.ac.uk, Jan 1, 2011, [http://www.academia.edu/948664/Social_dynamics_of_knowledge_communication_within_higher_education_the_case_of_an_art-science_collaboration] [Accessed 10.25.12]
3. Lattuca, Lisa R., Creating Interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Among College and University Faculty, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, 2001, p. 137
4. Examples of art-inflected events, conveying information but conducted with a meta-level of questioning and reflection, include the Art as a Way of Knowing symposium organized by Marina McDougall for the Exploratorium: http://www.exploratorium.edu/knowing/, events organized by artist collectives such as Platform in London [http://platformlondon.org/p-eventnew/t2/] and Stretcher in San Francisco [http://www.stretcher.org/projects/BAN/BAN_main.html], and performance lectures by figures such as artist Ryan Gander [http://www.artmuseum.pl/wydarzenie.php? id=Ryan_Gander_Loose_Associations_X_16_11_eng]
5. Elkins, James, Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students, University of Illinois Press, Champaign, 2001, p. 6
6. The “3/4” figure is based on the list of artist participants in ILLUMInations, the central curated exhibition of the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. At least 68 of the 82 artists draw on non-traditional art practices, although admittedly it is often difficult to assign firm categories. How, for example, would one classify Russian photographer Anya Titova, who creates interpersonal challenges such as asking strangers to touch her shoulder, in order to photograph them? This might reasonably be classified as both performance and photography, although for purposes of this list Titova was counted for a singular discipline, photography.
7. van Damme, Wilfried [ed], World Art Studies, Valiz, Amsterdam, 2008, p. 27
8. Dissayanake, Ellen, Homo Aestheticus, Where Art Comes From and Why, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1995, pp. 39-63
9. Historically the scientific construction of “race,” for example, has been shadowed by cultural preconceptions. One example from the many papers and volumes addressing this issue is sociologist Margaret Hunter’s paper Rethinking epistemology, methodology, and racism: or, is White sociology really dead?”, Race and Society 5 (No.2): 119-138
10. For example, Vito Acconci, who figures in art history as an influential performance and video artist, was named “Designer of the Year” at the 2012 Design Miami Fair. [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/24/vito-acconci-named-designer-of-the-year-by-design-miami.html] In the same year the work of the Brothers Quay (the collaborative cognomen of identical twins Stephen and Timothy), who for much of their career were known as illustrators, was accorded a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. [http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1240]
11. Edwin Hutchin’s home page on the University of California, San Diego website
12. Lucy Suchman’s home page on the Lancaster University website
13. For a discussion of hacker ethics that originated in computer technology, see Steven Mizrach’s
essay “Is there a Hacker Ethic for 90s Hackers?” http://www2.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/hackethic.html [Accessed 10.25.12]
14. Among the works addressing this subject from different angles are psychologist Keith Sawyer’s Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006 and Larry Shiner’s The Invention of Art: A Cultural History, University of Chicago Press, 2003
15. Bass, Thomas A., “Think Tanked,” Wired Magazine, December, 1999
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.12/interval.html [Accessed 10.25.12]
16. A range of research supporting this idea is reported at length in Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, R. Keith Sawyer, Basic Books, New York, 2007
17. Shaw, Benjamin G., “A Cognitive Account of Collective Emergence in Design,” C&C’09 Proceedings of the 2009 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Creativity and Cognition, ACM, NY, 2009, pp. 59-68
18. Blast Theory website: http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/index.php
19. Crutchfield, James P. and David D. Dunn, “Entomogenic Climate Change: Insect Bioacoustics and Future Forest Ecology,” Leonardo, June 2009, Vol. 42, No. 3, Pages 239-244, Posted Online April 30, 2009., (doi:10.1162/leon.2009.42.3.239)
20. Ant Farm biography, Electronic Arts Intermix, http://www.eai.org/artistBio.htm?id=394
21. Raqs Media Collective website: http://www.raqsmediacollective.net/
22. Videos of two installations by James Gimzeski and Victoria Vesna, an educational project Zero@wavefunction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9bi-ExFzAs and an art Installation, Blue Morph http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YHo0aSLuZ8
23. M.G. Lord, Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science, Walker & Company, NY, 2005, p. 75
24. Julien Phalip, Ernest A. Edmonds, David Jean, “Supporting Remote Collaboration in Film Scoring,” Proceedings of the 2009 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Creativity and Cognition, ACM, New York, 2009, p. 211-220
25. Leavitt, Harold, Hot Groups: Seeding Them, Feeding Them, and Using Them to Ignite
Your Organization, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999
26. Sawyer was quoted by journalist Jonah Lehrer, “Groupthink”, New Yorker, January 30, 2012,
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lehrer [Accessed 10.15.12];
While Lehrer’s journalistic accuracy has since come into question Sawyer refers to a large body of studies supporting the statement in the book Group Genius (cited in note 19), including Diehl, lvI., & Stroebe, W. 1987. “Productivity Loss in Brainstorming Groups: Toward a Solution of a Riddle.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 497-509, which includes a survey of 22 studies.
27. Jane Prophet and Mark d’Inverno, “Creative conflict in interdisciplinary collaboration: interpretation, scale and emergence,” http://www.academia.edu/193448/e [Accessed 10.26.12]
Appendix: Summary of Coursework Guidelines
1. Communicate that categories of knowledge such as “fine art”, “graphic design,” “astrophysics”, or “mechanical engineering” are themselves the collaborative creative productions of our society.
2. Convey a cultural overview that relates students’ study of collaboration to contemporary conditions and the currents of change in all knowledge fields.
3. Offer participants an understanding of creative practice that relates their domains, acknowledging key points of similarity and difference, and considering the multi-dimensional factors involved in creative success.
4. Stimulate awareness of the models of “good science”, “good art,” “good design” and “good engineering” participants have in play through discussion of their aspirations (their values) and exemplars (best practices).
5. Build students’ repertoire of decision-making models by presenting varied historical examples of cross-disciplinary collaboration.
6. Define project groups and give participants an active experience of working together, at whatever scale circumstances allow.
7. Ask participants to articulate in verbal or visual form the failures and successes of their work together by the standards of other group members, as they understand them, and exchange with the group regarding their conclusions.