Transdisciplinary research and practice: the emergence of new alternative organizational forms

HDK, Business & Design Lab, Kristinelundsgatan 6-8, Göteborg

At this seminar Amitai Romm, David Hilmer Rex and Aslak Aamot Kjærulff will present the transdisciplinary research and practice Diakron. They will discuss how new types of organizations are shaping the emerging landscapes of research, ideas and cultures (of art, science, politics, economics, technologies, etc.).

Diakron is currently working on a project titled Hybrid Organizations. The project is an effort to re-think the future of the Danish welfare state, and state and enterprise apparatuses in general (in collaboration with the Danish Building Research Institute and the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing (formerly: Danish Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs and four other artist/researcher-founded organizations based in Denmark).

'Hybrid' refers to the ways disciplines and ways of engaging in issues are converging in new types of organizations that overspill categories and concepts originating from modern sector-divisions.

'Organizations' refers to interests in what it means to organize rather that what an organization is; the concerns, considerations and constraints involved in making and navigating new types of organizations.

Diakron is trying to both study the organizations that seem to be taking on those challenges and facilitate work and projects that address the above mentioned topics. As this is still a venture that is beginning to take shape, Diakron wants to talk about their approach to the questions they are exploring and is interested in exchanging ideas and discussing concepts.


Alongside attempts to create institutional transitions towards sustainable societies, an undergrowth of creative organizational alternatives are emerging. A lot of new organizational forms are often outside the radar of public limelight, when questions of long term sustainability or post-capitalist economies are discussed. Discussions of structural or systemic tensions often leave out the organizational aspects of shifts in societies. But across various new forms of organizations there are growing orientations towards new ways of thinking, working, designing and distributing resources. Orientations that cut across modern disciplinary divides, sector divisions and least surprisingly also Westphalian state territories. Our current work is about tracing the qualities and conditions that such new organizational forms create and operate in.

In formal terms a shift in thinking involves the shift in geological terminology from a Holocene to an Anthropocene era. Humans can now be seen as active natural forces, shaping ancient and far-reaching temporalities inherent in rhythms of climate changes and evolutionary processes.

A shift in working conditions involves the massive unemployment related to financial stagnation and automation as well as the growing precarity related to increasingly flexible labour markets and platform-based income schemes. Generally the growing masses of ‘surplus populations’ are formal themes, looking for several organizational responses.

In terms of design practices we are looking at how several ideas coming from software design and online spheres are beginning to spill over into other mediums and processes. While a modern tradition of bifurcation have kept digital and analogue as separate worlds, we aim to show the ways digitalities fold into organizing processes in various ways that complexify such a distinction.

In terms of resource distribution we are currently looking at various new types of platform design for economic, legal and political spheres of social organization. While this research is in it’s first phases, we are quite sure that questions of economic shifts, new contractual formats and new types of democratic processes are as much issues of the abilities to fuse contemporary design practices as it is about voting for a system we already know what looks like.