Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 8, No. 2 (2011)

Transdisciplinary convergence in the performing arts

Clive Graham, School of Creative and Performing Arts, CQUniversity Australia


This paper concerns transdisciplinary convergence in the performing arts with particular reference to film and musical performance. Published articles about transdisciplinarity to date have focused predominantly on academic research with concern for the reliability and validity of the outcome of such research. There is little documentation concerning transdisciplinarity in the commercial setting. This paper seeks to rectify the deficiency with reference to the commercial performing arts. Building on the transdisciplinary trend-lines of Klein (2010a), the paper examines unity of knowledge as well as transgressive, transcendent and trans-sector transdisciplinarity in order to evaluate the occurrence of transdisciplinary convergence in the commercial setting. Transdisciplinary convergence in the performing arts is examined in the context of radical evolution examining how the performing arts employ elements of genetics, robotics, information technology and nanotechnology (GRIN) for innovations to transform performance. Radical evolution is premised on Garreau’s thesis (2005) which has implications for the performing arts. On-screen digital and Gonzo innovations, the tonal manipulation of singers, miniaturized amplification devices, synthesized orchestras, and hyper-reality performances attest to the emergent enhancement of human performance and the rise of the transhuman artist resulting from transdisciplinary convergence. It is contended that Garreau’s radical evolution is being assimilated into the performing arts by way of serial innovation resulting in both hybrid and new stand-alone approaches. In consequence, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between culture and mass media, between reality and simulacra and between the human and transhuman artist.

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