What I’m coming to understand is the relationship between art, technology and design as one in which the different idioms of very distinct and displinary practices can be brought together..or not. My insights are not as thorough as yours and more driven by intuition and insight through process and projects. My own descriptions of these experiences are that “interdisciplinary” means multiple disciplines engaged in a pile-up, a knot of jumbled ideas and perspectives. Lots of different languages and vocabularies and principles, and especially ways of “completing things” — processes — that feels quite a bit like a bunch of different driving habits converging on a busy freeway.
I prefer the term “undisciplinary” because it wants nothing to do with playing the usual games, according to the usual logics (doing things to serve a specific mode of capital accumulation and capital production — whether knowledge-as-property, culture-as-commodity, objects or other materializations that can be sold for profit.) It’s not “interdisciplinary” — which I bought into once. Neither is it transdisciplinary, which I admittedly don’t know that much about, but suspect it’s a bit of an over-theorized alternative to “interdisciplinary”
“Undisciplinarity” is as much a way of doing work as it is a departure from ways of doing work, even what “counts” as work. It is a work habit and approach to creating and circulating culture that can go its own way, without worrying about working outside of what histories-of-disciplines say is “proper” work. It’s “undisciplined” and not willing or even able to operate within the realm of consumer capitalism and capital accumulation. You can’t be wrong — or have old-timers tell you how to do what you want to do. This is a good thing, it means new knowledge is created rather than incremental contributions to a body of existing knowledge. It means new ways of working, new practices, new unexpected processes and projects come to be, almost by definition. It’s not for everyone. Many if not most people need to be told how to do what they do. They need discipline and boundaries and steps and rules. They need to know what’s good, and what’s bad. They need to know what the boundaries are and where the limits of the discipline lie. And this makes sure that the creation of specific, sensible knowledge is created.
Why is this important? Why “undisciplinarity”? Because we need more playful and habitable worlds that the old forms of knowledge production are ill-equipped to produce. It’s an epistemological shift, not (only) new ways of fixing the problems the old disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices created in the first place. If these old practices are lap dogs to consumer capitalism how quickly can they learn the desperately needed new tricks to fix the crisis-level challenges the world faces?