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Title: “Pathways to Innovation in Digital Culture” Revisited
Authors: Century, Michael
Issue Date: 21-Jun-2016
Abstract: The speaker’s 1999 report Pathways to Innovation in Digital Culture, commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, observed a rising density of interconnections between the worlds of art, technology and science. Designating the site of this hybrid activity as the studio­laboratory, the report sampled leading institutions active at the time through a typology of innovation in information and communication technologies – incremental, radical, systemic and paradigmatic. This talk updates the analysis, introducing a more complex approach for thinking about the paradigmatic level. In addition to research inside the dominant techno­economic paradigm at a given time, three other modes are introduced: pre­, anti­, and post­paradigmatic research/creation. Two are of particular interest to the theme of MAH Re­Create 2015: the “anti­paradigmatic”, or agonistic mode, activity that is both embedded within the conditions of possibility defined synchronically in a given techno­economic paradigm, yet deeply critical of the assumptions underlying that paradigm; and the “pre­paradigmatic” mode, which anticipates and therefore asynchronically engages with emerging fields beyond the ICT paradigm. The talk concludes with a view of the present role of the studio­lab in each of the four temporal alignments, emphasizing the particular importance of policy intervention at the pre­paradigmatic level – the level of greatest uncertainty, and arguably, the greatest potential for wide­scale social impact.
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