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Call for Participation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dietz   
Dec 31, 2005 at 02:48 PM

This is an invitation by the ISEA2006 Symposium and ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge to groups and individuals to submit proposals for exhibition of interactive art work and projects reflecting on the thematic of the transvergence.

Creative interplay of disciplines to catalyze artistic, scientific, and social innovation is evidenced by decades of multi-/ pluri-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary discourse and practice. Emphasis on the dynamics subtending this interplay has led to the notion of transvergence, a term coined by Marcos Novak which overrides discipline-bound issues and demands, and serves as the focus of the present call. Proposals are sought that address but are not limited to themes outlined below, challenging the boundaries of disciplines and conventional (art) institutional discourse, and indicating creative strategies for overriding them. Proposals may consist of art projects, residencies, workshops, standalone conference papers, or group conference sessions.

While convergence and divergence are allied to epistemologies of continuity, transvergence is epistemologically closer to logics of incompleteness, to complexity, chaos, and catastrophe theories, dynamical systems, emergence, and artificial life. While convergence and divergence contain the hidden assumption that the true, in either a cultural or an objective sense, is a continuous land-mass, transvergence recognizes true statements to be islands in an alien archipelago, sometimes only accessible by leaps, flights, and voyages on vessels of artifice.

"Central to transvergence is speciation. We want to draw proposals that constitute new species of effort and expression and that both enact and reflect on our construction of new species of cultural reality -- not by being merely novel mutations within known areas, but by boldly challenging known areas and yet being potentially viable to the point of becoming autonomous entities -- not dancing about architecture or architecture about dancing, for instance, but dancing architecture... or, better still, something else, as yet alien and unnamable, but alive and growing."



Marcos Novak

Organizational Models Offering Settings for Transvergence

Transvergence is conditioned by exodus and invention. New idioms of expression do not happen in isolation. Although creativity is a resource that works best when shared, there is no clear form of revenue or infrastructure for the practices of collaboration that characterize transvergence. Collaboration in this context does not arise from democratically disseminated, proportionally allocated property, but from the permanent re-appropriation of shared resources, and resultant re-territorialization of production, creation and artefacts. The models of the think-tank, media lab and research centre have shown their limits since the 80s and 90s, as have tactical media activism tied to the logic of events, and NGOs facing the donor system’s arduous accountability requirements; university research is often encumbered by best-practice driven managerial culture, and “creative industries” clusters are subject to economies of scale and uneven divisions of labour. As a technics of expression immanent to media of communication, transvergence requires settings that instantiate structures of possibility. Such settings might derive from models offered by ecologies, fields and membranes, and from the emergent institutional forms of organized networks, whose constant configuring of relations between actors, information, practices, interests and socio-technical systems corresponds to the logic of transvergence.

ISEA seeks new visions of organizational and participatory models as structures of possibility for transvergent practice.

Transvergent Ethics and Redefinitions of Art

Institutions which purportedly back new art practices are not always the bravest when it comes to work which challenges basic assumptions about what art is, what the artist is, what the relationship between artwork and audience might be, and what the outcome of an artwork might be. Counter intuitively, business corporations can be much quicker to support radically new ways for artist, artwork and audience to speak to each other: every time a viewer/player engages with an interactive creation, a kind of commerce occurs - a series of transactions, a litany of offers and purchases. Similarly, organizations devoted to healthcare, social well-being and political activism may more readily recognize exchanges that privilege the contingent yet compelling “we”, and the urgency of the encounter. Art and cultural institutions remain reluctant to take on these new forms because they destabilize old views of the artist as a person making a proposition about the world and of the audience as consumer/ interpreter of this proposition, whereas transvergent work instates audiences as key f/actors in communication processes. This implies a shift in – but not necessary the demise of - the artist’s role, and a change in the nature of artworks, formulated as public experiments raising questions as much to do with ethics, as with aesthetics and poetics.

ISEA encourages proposals querying the role and relevance of art in public arenas that are being redefined by interactive, inclusive ambitions and tools.


Over the past 20 years, biotechnology has revolutionized the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, and the fields of animal and human medicine. Biotechnology implementations direct areas such as food production and consumption, global trade agreements, human and animal reproduction, environmental concerns as well as biosecurity and biodefense. The Human Genome Project and stem cell research have stimulated the merging of computational research with areas of the life sciences. Disciplines such as bioinformatics and ecoinformatics currently enjoy broad public attention and funding. Although artists have long been engaged with depictions of "nature", BioArt, which includes the use of biological matters as part of artistic production and context creation, and EcoArt, where artists attempt to influence the ecologies in which we live, are relatively young areas demanding new exploratory and creative strategies.

ISEA is interested in projects engaging with the materials and broader ecology of life sciences, rather than simply their symbolic representation.

Technozoosemiotics as an Epistemological Platform & Playground

Technozoosemiotics is the study of signs elaborated by all natural or artificial living species to communicate in intra- or extra-specific ways (zoe = life). Humans and their more-or-less intelligent artefacts ignore the quality and singularity of information elaborated and emitted through the myriad channels and networks which traverse terrestrial, celestial, marine and intergalactic spaces. As art forms migrate from institutional sanctuaries to other areas of experience – the everyday, public, intimate/private, the biosphere, the universe – they must tune to the diverse communications that animate the technozoosphere. This means inventing interfaces that favour interactions of like and unlike kinds of intelligence, and emergence of new species of conversational agents. It means creating epistemological platforms and playgrounds for the transduction and translation of codes that open up novel ways of thinking and domains of knowledge.

ISEA is soliciting art that extends beyond human-centred design, to questions of living systems and new species of cultural reality.


Chair, Sally Jane Norman, Louis Bec, Andy Cameron, Beatriz da Costa, Bojana Kunst, Maja Kuzmanovic, Anne Nigten, Marcos Novak, Ned Rossiter


Last Updated ( Feb 22, 2006 at 10:20 PM )
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