Roundup: Hybrid Retreat “Inspiration Interdisciplinarity”

The Hybrid Plattform organized a very special kind of meeting in the form of the “Inspiration Interdisciplinarity” retreat on February 17–18, 2012.

Artists, designers, and scholars from the natural sciences and technology were invited to present their fields briefly for a general audience and then discuss them. The participants thus had an opportunity to gain insight into other fields of research and hence derive inspiration for their own work. The retreat took place at the Gutshof Sauen, a meeting place for Berlin’s universities of the arts.

The open atmosphere provided an opportunity for experimental exchange between individuals and disciplines. The retreat deliberately avoided a workshop approach, nor was the goal to define or encourage specific projects. The Hybrid Plattform was thus offering a counterpoint to the approach to research in which the participants have to report on the intended approach and expected result even before the project begins.

Even the location was an experiment: The Gutshof Sauen was conceived for groups of students, who are housed in multibed rooms. In this environment, formalities become less important, and no matter whether they were in the dining room, in the large shed, or on breaks in the courtyard, the participants could easily start conversations everywhere.

Prof. Marc Alexa of the computer graphics department of the TU Berlin, one of the initiators of the Hybrid Plattform, initiated the retreat. He was responsible for the nature and direction of the event, curated the list of participants to be invited, and moderated the retreat. It included people from companies and outside initiatives.

Even before it began, the idea met with many positive reactions. All of the participants were very open to the retreat experiment. A great deal of positive feedback ultimately confirmed that the participants took away inspiration and contacts.

We are therefore planning to continue and refine this format. For example, we are thinking of contributions not just in the form of talks but in all sorts of formats: from readings by way of films and presentations of objects to the presentation of theses and acoustic performances.