On Wednesday March 16th 2016 we will be in Belgirate, near the Lake Maggiore, at the 11th cycle of Winter School (2016) of the Alta Scuola Politecnica for a lecture titled “Innovation/Transgression. What is the role of transgression in innovation processes? The opportunities of extreme cultural diversity when all industries have now become  cultural industries?”

Click the link to see the agenda of the Winter School at the Alta Scuola Politecnica.

This topic is of extreme importance for us as can be seen from articles on Art is Open Source like Here, HereHere and Here.

Here is the abstract of the lecture and discussion:

“Innovation and Trangression: exploring Third Spaces and Excess Spaces”

From Smart Cities, to Internet of Things, Hyperconnectivity and the many aspects of our radically changing lives, “code” is becoming (and has already become) a fundamental word and concept. Both from the point of view of “software code” (and, thus, algorithms, data, open source, and its many ubiquitous manifestations in our lives) and from the one of “encoding”, describing the many ways in which our lives are progressively becoming encoded, with the possibilities brought on by (Big) Data analysis, computational sociology and anthropology (and their social, politica, psychological and cultural implications) and by the presence of those algorithmic agents which shape our everyday experiences, from what we experience in the news and in our general media and communication ecosystem, to the ways in which we work, cure ourselves, study, research, relate with others, join communities, decide to vote, use energy, and more.

Code, and encoding, mean classifications, boundaries and, thus, their transgression.

The word “transgression” has multiple negative connotations. But, also, it embodies some of the most promising opportunities for radical, inclusive innovation. When all industries become ‘cultural’ industries, meaning that they shift towards the immaterial and, thus, towards knowledge, information, data and, thus, culture, creativity, arts and transgression assume specific roles and fundamental values. Pine’s and Gilmore’s Experience Economy, Enzensberger’s ‘Industrialization of the Mind’ are only a few of the example of possible interpretations of these roles. Industry without a role for transgression and radical creativity lives in a paradox: it cannot produce its own product, but merely reproduce and induce it.

Foucault explains how transgressions forces limits, boundaries and norms to recognise themselves, requiring them to deal with their imminent disappearance and, thus, laying out the basis for innovation.

Elizabeth Grosz defines this process as spatial excess, a new dimension which is able to go beyond preconceptions, prejudices and worries about utility, “beyond the relevance for the present, looking towards the future.” The revelation and discovery of this excess depends on the possibility for transgression. Excess is in the “problematic”, which is full of potential. Transgressors don’t cross borders, they move them: by moving them they innovate.

De Certeau, Lefebvre, Maturana, Bateson, Bhabha and other show how these are cybernetic systems of the second order: by transgressing and continuously re-programming spaces, times and processes, the system changes and innovation is created. Anthropologist Massimo Canevacci Ribeiro calls this: methodological indiscipline.

What is a possible role for Transgression in innovation processes? What types of institutions, organizations and companies can be imagined to enact these roles? What tools can be used?
A possible answer can be found in Gilles Clèment’s concept of the Third Landscape, in the Planetary Garden: what is the role of a gardener of a garden without a form?


About the Alta Scuola Politecnica:

In 2004, the Politecnico di Milano and Politecnico di Torino founded the Alta Scuola Politecnica (ASP), restricted to 150 young and exceptionally talented students, selected solely on the basis of merit, among the applicants to the Laurea Magistrale programmes (equivalent to a Master of Science) in Engineering, Architecture and Design at the two universities.

The resulting Community is made up of very motivated and exceptionally qualified  students (about 60% achieved their Bachelor of Science – B.Sc. – degree cum laude) with a passion for innovation, coming from about 20 different countries; more than 1/3 of them are women.

These students follow a curriculum additional to their degree programmes, completely in English, based on ad-hoc courses and the development of multidisciplinary projects.


The Lecture is given within the course “The New Internet Society: Entering the Black-Box of Digital Innovations”, coordinated by professors Juan Carlos De Martin and Paolo Neirotti.