Experimental Interdisciplinary Practices

Liz Kotz
Art History
UC Riverside

How do we theorize the experimental and interdisciplinary practices that have emerged across the arts since the 1960s? What critical and analytic models can we generate, and what concrete methods of research and reading can we bring to these materials? And – on a more pragmatic level – how can we galvanize the resources of the UC system in order to make the University of California an international center for such research? This working group historicized and theorized the emergence of cross-disciplinary artistic practices in the post-WWII era. Centered in New York City but resonating internationally, these practices operated between the visual arts, music, poetry and dance. Their formal, material and performative experiments challenged the boundaries and definitions of existing media and artistic disciplines – and, in our present, they continue to defy critical and academic reception. Focusing on the key period of the 1950s and 1960s, the group identified and shared crucial research materials and developed more robust scholarly networks to support this growing area of work. Ultimately, rethinking our existing critical tools and generating innovative methodological and theoretical frameworks for the study of interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary artistic practices, their social causes and resulting influences, engaging crucial but overlooked materials that challenged humanities scholarship in profound and provocative ways.