Some people just have it in their DNA to not be limited.    That was one of the takeaways from the Transcending Borders conference in Salzburg, accessible via National Endowment for the Arts webcast on 6/12/2012.  In the quest for knowledge, one size  – i.e.,  one field or place or discipline – definitely does not fit all.  The provocateur naturally seeks to zigzag across borders, to hang out at their interstices, and find ways to connect things, people, places, cultures and enterprises that, to the unambitious, may seem like exercise in the impossible.

ZERO1 in San Jose, CA- aka where art meets technology to shape the future – is a case in point.  The organization sees itself as a broker to create new platforms that give rise to new forms of creativity.  One of the objectives this baby of Silicon Valley has in mind is putting a face on the postmodern city.

The Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz stretches the potential of the internet’s use as a creative space for artistic collaborations.  I like the way their ZeitRaum project presents dynamic, visual representations of open data as public art in transit areas:

Choreographer Liz Lerman responds to the myth of individual genius by stressing how much of creativity is about managing relationships.  Artists and collaborators should be given the utmost respect while organizational knowledge is deployed in their support.

Interdisciplinarity is the necessary basis to collide different minds, and the provocateur’s job is to keep the collisions going more than once, to make pathways for deep access.   This requires a LOT of three things:

  • translation
  • contextualization
  • support

How can you tell if you share the ambition of provocateurs?  You live and work – and give – by this motto:   Do what you think is next.