DOI: ri14.v19i2.1708 | ISSN: 1697-8293 | July - December 2021 Volume 19 No 2 | ICONO14

Hybridizations and overflows between disciplines and sectors in art and communication. Tracing the transdisciplinary creative potential for teaching

Hibridaciones y desbordamientos entre disciplinas y sectores en arte y comunicación. Trazando el potencial creativo transdisciplinar para la docencia

Hibridizações e transbordamentos entre arte, comunicação e inovação social. Mapeando um potencial criativo transdisciplinar

Matilde Obradors

Professor of Creativity & Visual artist
Communications Department
(Pompeu Fabra University)


With the conviction that the creative faculty improves with practice and with immersion in innovative models, and since one of the fundamental operations of creativity is the association of ideas, the analogy, the mixing and the combination of references that leads to new things, a subject dedicated to hybridization and transdisciplinarity between communication, art and culture, is essential to understand and encourage creativity, improve its practice and obtain differentiated and innovative results. This study proposes to draw a map of hybridizations as teaching content to encourage creativity. Hybridizations between various cultural and artistic disciplines have been taking place since the 1920s throughout the last century, despite the fact that different industries have preserved their domains for commercial and elite issues of belonging to a field. In the twenty-first century there are multiple expressions of sensitivity to social problems, in which hybridizations configure new practices within what has been called Social Innovation; we find graphic designers, artists, filmmakers, advertisers ... involved in social issues and artistic practices, committed to society. The so-called Technological Revolution has changed the practices and forms of relationship. With the Internet and Social Networks, hybridization has increased considerably, since we can all access the technological gadgets that make it possible, but it is fundamental, to consider the manifestations prior to the digital age, to know the origin of the practices of crossing between disciplines and sectors.

Keywords: Hybridization; Transdisciplinarity; Communication; Art; Participatory culture; Creativity


Con el convencimiento de que la facultad creativa mejora con la práctica y con la inmersión en modelos innovativos, y puesto que una de las operaciones fundamentales de la creatividad es la asociación de ideas, la analogía, la mezcla y la combinación de referentes que lleva a cosas nuevas, una asignatura dedicada a la hibridación y la transdisciplinariedad entre comunicación, arte y cultura, es imprescindible para comprender e incentivar la creatividad, mejorar su práctica y obtener resultados, diferenciados e innovadores. El presente estudio propone trazar un mapa de hibridaciones como contenido lectivo para incentivar la creatividad. Las hibridaciones entre diversas disciplinas culturales y artísticas se vienen produciendo desde los años 20 a lo largo de todo el siglo pasado, a pesar de que las diferentes industrias han preservado sus dominios por cuestiones comerciales y de élite de pertenencia a un ámbito. En el siglo veintiuno se dan múltiples expresiones de sensibilidad a las problemáticas sociales, en las que las hibridaciones configuran nuevas prácticas dentro de lo que se ha dado en llamar la Innovación Social; encontramos diseñadores gráficos, artistas, cineastas, publicitarios… implicados en temas sociales y prácticas artísticas, comprometidos con la sociedad. La denominada Revolución Tecnológica ha cambiado las prácticas y las formas de relación. Con Internet y las Redes Sociales, ha aumentado considerablemente la hibridación, puesto que todos podemos acceder a los artilugios tecnológicos que la hacen posible, pero es fundamental, considerar las manifestaciones anteriores a la era digital, conocer el origen de las prácticas de cruce entre disciplinas y sectores.

Palabras clave: Hibridación; Transdisciplinariedad; Comunicación; Arte; Cultura participativa; Creatividad


Com a convicção de que a faculdade criativa melhora com a prática e com a imersão em modelos inovadores, e já que uma das operações fundamentais da criatividade é a associação de ideias, a analogia, a mistura e a combinação de referências que conduzem a Coisas Novas, um assunto que se dedica à hibridização e transdisciplinaridade entre comunicação, arte e cultura, é essencial para compreender e estimular a criatividade, melhorar a sua prática e obter resultados diferenciados e inovadores. Este estudo se propõe a traçar um mapa de hibridizações como conteúdos didáticos de incentivo à criatividade. As hibridizações entre várias disciplinas culturais e artísticas têm ocorrido desde a década de 1920 ao longo do século passado, apesar do fato de que diferentes indústrias preservaram seus domínios para questões comerciais e de elite de pertencer a um campo. No século XXI são múltiplas as expressões de sensibilidade aos problemas sociais, nas quais as hibridizações configuram novas práticas dentro do que se denominou Inovação Social; Encontramos designers gráficos, artistas, cineastas, publicitários ... envolvidos com questões sociais e práticas artísticas, comprometidos com a sociedade. A chamada Revolução Tecnológica mudou as práticas e formas de relacionamento. Com a Internet e as Redes Sociais, a hibridização aumentou consideravelmente, pois todos podemos acessar os gadgets tecnológicos que a tornam possível, mas é fundamental, considerar as manifestações anteriores à era digital, conhecer a origem das práticas de cruzamento entre disciplinas.

Palavras chave: Hibridização; Transdisciplinaridade; Comunicação; Arte; Cultura participativa; Criatividader

Translation by Tridiom S.L.

1. Introduction

When you say the word “hybrid”, you necessarily refer to a mixture of elements, influences or a fusion of styles. The hybridisation of the creative industries, culture, art and the media tells us about the convergence of languages, styles, procedures, media, techniques, formats and environments. It is difficult to continue thinking of the media as autonomous and independent. And it is clear that technological development has created new meanings and, as a result, different forms of perception. However, the hypothesis that hybridisations in the field of communication and art are a product of the internet era is not confirmed after examining how these fields manifested throughout the 20th century. The so-called Technological Revolution has changed how we relate to others and what types of relationships we have. Consumers stop being passive subjects and start to generate their own content. Social networks facilitate remixing existing material to construct new messages and pieces and, in this sense, we can say that social networks not only allow but also help to create these new mixtures. Therefore, the answer is that with the Internet and social networks, hybridisation has considerably increased, since most people have access to technological devices that make it possible. Yet it is also important to consider how it manifested prior to the digital era and map the journey of hybridisations and transdisciplinary expression from the beginning of the 20th century.

Transdisciplinary forms of production have created new relationships between technology, science, the arts and audiovisual media and thus require multiple disciplines to be studied. Consequently, this article proposes unearthing, capturing and classifying hybridisations between different disciplines, identifying the main axes supporting this hybridisation, establishing groups with closer links between film, experimental film, documentaries, video art, art, science, theatre, performance, business, graphic design, advertising, video games, literature, the Internet, social networks, online-offline activities (virtual and face-to-face), social innovation, social transformation, video activism, sound production, creation of virtual and immersive environments, and multimedia spaces, interactive documentary, memes, among others.

With the conviction that creativity improves with practice and immersion in innovative models and since one of the fundamental operations of creativity is the association of ideas, analogies mixture and combination of resources that leads to new things, a subject dedicated to hybridisation and transdisciplinarity in communication, art and culture, is essential to understand and incentivise creativity and obtain better, unique and innovative results. This study proposes drawing a map of hybridisations as teaching content to encourage creativity. Furthermore, this proposal is already in progress and the work of defining and classifying manifestations and cases is open, like an observatory, to including new cases and examples.

2. Methodology

2.1. Background

A previous study carried out by the author of this article on transdisciplinarity culminated in 2012 in the creation and management of a postgraduate course at IDEC-UPF named “Creativity and Innovation. Strategies, Management and Interdisciplinary Applications”, which combined areas of creativity from different disciplines and searched for interaction, resulting in the development of hybrid projects with high degrees of innovation. The author has also played a significant role in the background of this study through her involvement in the Espacio Guía project ([Espacio Guía website], s.f.) as Director of the Communication Workshop at Campus Guía, a transdisciplinary living laboratory, as well as the projects and studies carried out with Livemedia ([Livemedia website], s.f.) from 2017 to 2020, in Arts Santa Mónica and Fabra i Coats, transdisciplinary studies in streaming. All this has led to an extensive background knowledge of transdisciplinarity, including both its theoretical and practical elements. It is also based on studies about areas of innovation such as Citizen Labs and about the use of art and design disciplines in Social Innovation, as well as one of the talks in the 9th Symposium of creativity teachers which took place in Valencia (2018), about the hybridisations that unite different disciplines and create new critical repertoires. Similarly, studies and articles carried out within the framework of UPF’s Digidoc group, which explore the theme of creative hybridisation, begin an analysis of the languages chosen in production. A new communication paradigm is emerging through the use of social networks, which establish new links with the physical world. We refer to them as online-offline activities. This phenomenon was discussed in the article by Obradors et al. (2018), on the analysis of new types of videography in relation to the representation of immigrants in the Citizen Laboratory, SIL (Social Innovation Laboratory), UBIQA.

As part of this ongoing research, this study analyses hybrid manifestations in communication - the behaviours, processes and changes that film, art, graphic design, business and advertising have undergone.

2.2. Objectives

The objectives of this study are:

2.3. Methodology

A qualitative research methodology based on research, observation, experiments and case studies has been used for nine years. The methodological approach used in previous research and experiments, explained under the heading ‘Background’ above, comprises the following:

The results obtained are presented in this article. It is a collection of different cases of hybridisation that have allowed us to make a first attempt at drawing the axes supporting the most important hybridisations and transdisciplinary practices: 1. The axis between film, documentaries, video art and art. 2. The axis between performing arts, theatre and performance art. 3. The axis between graphic design and social innovation. 4. The axis between businesses or organisations and art. 5. The axis between online and offline activities and Citizen Laboratories (Social Innovation Lab SIL). And 6. The axis between advertising, journalism, film, art, television and social transformation.

3. Development

3.1. Axis: Film / Documentary /Video Art / Art

In 1985, the Lumière brothers patented the cinematograph. In their films, they record everyday scenes as documentary images (Gubern, 2014). They were followed by Alice Guy-Blaché, a legendary figure in film history who was the first person to direct a fiction film (McMahan, 2002). This was the start of the silent film era and genres were established based on the classic narrative of Hollywood - the biggest film industry. Cinematographers thought of films as filmed theatre. Outside the realm of fiction, Robert Flaherty is considered one of the fathers of the documentary film. His first film was Nanuk the skunk (1921). In 1925, Serguéi Eisenstein appeared on the scene with Battleship Potemkin, a silent film that introduced a revolutionary form of montage. And in 1929, Dziga Vertov presented The Man with the Camera, a documentary that has no temporal or spatial continuity because it focusses on the poetic effect of montage. These editing works set a precedent for every collage film that has been made since then. The term “collage film” has its roots in art and can be seen in films, documentaries and video creations.

From the first papiers collés by Picasso and Braque to the video-creations of Mark Napier, Jean-Gabriel Périot or Mona Hatoum, collage is established as a proteiform technique (García López, S., and Gómez Vaquero, L. (Ed), 2009, p. 2).

It uses all kinds of materials (archival, news, adverts, fiction etc.), images out of context, superimposed realities or a montage that breaks the canon. All this results in alternatives to official discourse.

In the United States, we find a leading figure in hybrid manifestation: Maya Deren (1940). Maya breaks the canons of idea execution as well as those of exhibitions to create a middle-ground between film and art. In 1945, Italian Neorealism began, which shows society through the medium of improvisation, as the desolation after the Second World War needed to be documented. In 1947, cinema veritè and caméra stylo, emerged with the aim of expressing ideas, however abstract they may be, in the same way as an essay and in 1958, the Nouvelle Vague called for freedom in film production and distanced themselves from the patterns of mass-appeal cinema. All these European cinematic expressions break the classic Hollywood narrative and show a clear hybridisation with documentary films, resulting in a new form of filmmaking. Documentaries and fiction are mixed in an ever-freer manner and there are films that contain fiction, documentary and mockumentary elements. In 1986, the term “creative documentary” was coined in France to describe films that have the structure of a documentary but in which this structure is left open to the author’s imagination.

Found footage, which dates back to 1927 with the Soviet documentary filmmaker Esfir Shub, consists of taking previously recorded material and editing it in a new way that changes its meaning (Alemán, 2015). The most noteworthy example of fake found footage is The Blair Witch Project (Myrick and Sanchez, 1999) whose publicity campaign consisted of making the public believe that the film was made up of footage found in the forest after the main characters had disappeared.

Recently, in the field of found footage, the most memorable documentary is My Mexican Bretzel (Giménez Lorang, 2019), a mockumentary made with found footage. An emotional fusion of home movies, text and sound.

Nam June Paik, who is internationally recognised as the “father of video art”, filmed his first video in 1965. He created a large body of work including video sculptures, exhibitions, performances and videos, introducing the concept of art related to electronic media and expanded cinema. In 1970, Gene Youngblood, an expert in media art, coined the term “expanded cinema”, highlighting the changes that technological expansion made in experiences linked to film and our way of watching films.

Little by little, video art1, which had developed alongside film with its own forms of representation that clashed with television, opened an increasing number of communication channels until it was included in events and festivals that unite video art, documentaries and films, and their subsequent hybridisations, all of which are classified as a moving image, such as the Loop Festival since 2003 ([Loop Barcelona website], s.f.).

In Russia, protest and social movement films led to the creation of Russian film activism, in which content is more important than form and the urgency of the story conditions the narrative. This was followed by militant films, guerrilla communication, alternative television projects, audiovisual artistic practices and practices based on political denunciation movements through the use of audiovisuals (Brea, 2002). All this has led to video activism, a form of expression that offers the public alternative information to the mass media (Camuñas Maroto, 2014) (Galán Zarzuelo, 2012) (Vila, 2012) (Sierra and Montero, 2015). Social video activists oscillate between the artistic and the documentary.

To end this section with a recent manifestation, the latest example of hybridisation in film is the 17th Documenta Madrid Festival 2020 ([Documenta Madrid website], s.f.). Its programme removed the barriers between film genres and celebrated the mixture of formats. They called this “label-free cinema”. It also paid tribute to heterodox filmmakers such as Robert Frank (1924), a Swiss photographer, and Narcisa Hirsch (1928), an Argentinian visual artist, performer and experimental filmmaker. Films were shown by other artists who use film as a means of expression: Eric Baudelaire (1973), an American filmmaker and visual artist and Dora García (1965), a Spanish contemporary artist. Their works have been shown in both film festivals and museum collections and art biennials. Like the pioneering Maya Deren (mentioned above), who won an award in the Cannes International Film Festival and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She played her work in places where films had never been seen before: libraries, theatres and art galleries.

3.2. Axis: Performing arts / Theatre / Performance / Visual arts

Since 1960, theatre has evolved in line with the avant-garde and moved away from classical theatre. The aim is to leave an impression on the audience through greater psychological depth and a return to myth. The word ceases to be tyrannical and ritual and ceremony are restored (Oliva and Torres Monreal, 2000). We find the epic theatre of Bertolt Brecht, dirty theatre, absurd theatre, Angry Young men, The Living Theatre, Jerzy Grotowski’s theatre/laboratory (and happening actions in general) and independent theatre. The so-called theatre of provocation. At the same time, performance appears as an activity that challenges not only theatre but also art. We can trace this back to dadaism, a cultural and artistic movement that in 1916, sought to break theatrical conventions and rejected canons. It was created in Zurich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire, with the work of Emmy Hennings and her husband Hugo Ball. The Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, included an experimental performance workshop that aimed to explore the relationships between body, space, sound and light. In the 1940s and 1950s, the technique or movement of action painting allowed artists the freedom to interpret the canvas as a space in which to act, thus turning paintings into reflections of the artist’s creative process in the studio. At the end of the 1960s, the so-called Land Art movement was born with artists such as Robert Smithson and Dennis Oppenheim, who create art in nature using material from nature. They created works in the countryside that look like a cross between sculpture and architecture. The body forms part of the process of creating actions or movements in the countryside and that is why it is related to performance. The 1960s saw the birth of performance in happenings2 and it was accepted as an artistic expression in 1970. It is based on a strong desire to remove objects, dispense with the mercantile function of art and concentrate on ideas. The body becomes the canvas, the medium of expression, and creates fiction and dialogues that have no plot and rarely follow a script. We could call it an assault on reality. The body is used as a tool for protest that can freely address social issues and cross the boundaries and limits between what is public and private. The most significant characteristic of performance is that it includes people from multiple disciplines: poets, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, photographers and painters, among others. This means that it has no fixed boundaries so for years it has been impossible to study it in established fields. Diana Taylor, (2011), highlights:

Gender, race, class and sexuality issues were oppressed in both society and academia. Post-disciplinary fields such as cultural studies and performance studies were created as a result of that situation and that desire to relate the political with the artistic and economic. (p.13)

We can consider performance a transdisciplinary expression par excellence because it was born with the hybridisation and coexistence of disciplines in mind. This hybrid art can be expressed in countless ways.

A noteworthy theatre group today is Compañía Baro d’Evel. Their works Là and Falaise immerse us in a type of theatre that draws from multiple disciplines. There is a mixture of movement, acrobatics, voice, music and materials, among others. The works are unique in that they incorporate animals. It is an expert work of hybridisation. Another example is the Sala Becquet in Barcelona, which is committed to finding new forms of expression through a laboratory (els malnascuts) that welcomes young people from any field related to performing arts. It works with open scripts and performative acts that include other disciplines.

Like film, as we saw in the previous section, theatre also includes manifestations of solidarity and recognition, such as La Xixa Teatre, a charity association for the research, development and multiplication of theatre tools and use of popular education as a means of social transformation. They perform intercultural forum theatre, which has its roots in the Theatre of the Oppressed, a theatrical trend that Augusto Boal developed from the 1960s onwards. They are participatory/interactive work methods. The Theatre of the Oppressed is influenced by the Epic Theatre of Bertolt Brecht and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. They are games for actors and non-actors that allow them to detect and reflect upon social, political and personal oppression until they create interpretative actions that lead to freedom.

3.3. Axis: Business / Art

Historically, some sectors have developed completely independently of each other. One clear example of this is business and art, which despite there being countless cases of companies becoming sponsors and patrons, hosting art awards and creating cultural foundations and art centres, have never strictly collaborated. In our search for hybridisations between disciplines, we find associations or platforms that bring together companies or organisations and artists. The artists work alongside the company to carry out a project or solve a challenge. They are examples of hybridisation and transdisciplinary practices. These associations are based on the premise that the artists have been educated to look at things from different angles, so they can offer new perspectives and possibilities. Charity organisations such as TILLT (Sweden 1910) ([Tillt website], s.f.) and Disonancias (Spain 2005) ([Disonancias website], s.f.) or companies such as Conexiones improbables (Spain, 2010) ([Conexiones improbables website], s.f.), have used these abilities with great results. The process consists, firstly, of finding organisations that want to participate. They explain the idea they want to research or develop and then advertise it so that artists who want to collaborate with them can present potential projects to address the needs and challenges set by the company. A panel, followed by the company or organisation themselves, decide who to collaborate with. Some projects last nine months while other collaborations are shorter and more concise, but the charity’s role is always to oversee and support the process.

Arantxa Mendiharat’s work in these fields and her knowledge of the subject is worthy of mention. According to Mendiharat (2009), “Normally, teams in companies are made up of people who have very similar profiles and more or less the same training, which means they act in a very similar way”. They create transdisciplinary work groups in which creativity is key. This is what creativity specialists call co-creation and co-research, which leads to innovation.

3.4. Axis: Transdisciplinarity / Online/offline activities / SIL’s (Social Innovation Laboratories)

The phenomenon that has come to be known as the democratisation of art and culture first appeared to be a precursor for a society in which local traditions would disappear. However, instead of homogenising cultures, the international nature of the internet promotes online/offline activities that create a new framework for social interaction. The author of this article has taken part in face-to-face/online processes as part of participatory work with Livemedia at Fabra i Coats (Code±Nowness s.f.) (2017-2019), proving that face-to-face and virtual processes are interdependent. Streaming and showing actions in real time modify our relationship with space-time. Substantial changes are taking place in current artistic practices. Live performances (performative or action arts) have returned in face-to-face/online settings.

Information and Communication Technologies for Interculturality ([Livemedia website], s.f.) contribute to this bond between cultures. Preserving one’s own traditions is more important than ever because it is now possible to share them, without having to conform to a homogenising globalisation. The important thing is to be able to share diversity. The term “Social Innovation” appears (Murray, Caulier-Grice & Mulgan, 2010), which aims to meet social needs and create new relationships by using digital practices and stimulating online/offline activities. Video storytelling, which refers to using digital technology to share life stories ([Storycenter website], n.d.), is useful in this context of social innovation to address personal issues such as immigration, sex and school failure and plays a fundamental role in improving aspects of society and encouraging citizen participation (Obradors, 2018). There is a shift from virtual platforms to media labs or SIL’s as a way to unite and integrate the general public. In all these activities, there is what Burgess (2006) calls “vernacular creativity” - the everyday creative practices that are now being used and expanded in new media.

3.5. Axis: Graphic Design / Art / Social Innovation

Graphic design conveys ideas by means of images and objects. It is an activity that aims to show, promote or advertise brands, organisations or events using visual elements that share messages with specific objectives.

When reviewing the history of graphic design and as part of this search to understand how disciplines overlap, it is important to reference Andy Warhol (1975), a famous graphic designer and illustrator for prestigious brands who, in his subsequent work process based on multifaceted artistic activity, helped to blur the lines between design and art and open the door to new ways of interpreting both disciplines. Another important event was the publication of the First Things First
Manifesto (1964), which called for a more radical form of graphic design, criticising the idea of repetitive, worthless designs. A need to address the humanistic dimension of design. It had a massive influence on a whole new generation of graphic designers, contributing to the emergence of publications such as the Emigre magazine. Another notable late 20th century designer is Milton Glaser, who designed the famous ‘I Love NY’ campaign (1973). Glaser took elements from the popular culture of the sixties and seventies and that is also another artistic dimension of design.

Recently, graphic design has moved outside its boundaries, that is to say it has left behind this activity of showing, promoting or advertising brands, organisations or events and is playing a key role in social transformation. We see, through FAD (Fostering Arts and Design, a charity organisation of design professionals and companies) Opinion Networks, projects like Bústia Xnet that defend the use of the Internet to improve democracy; and the 15MpaRato platform and work group against Corruption in Catalonia (FAD, 2015d). These are some of the contributions made by design in the fight against pain, inequality and corruption.

Along the same lines we find Josep-Maria Martín, who is working on the role of design in social transformation, proposing projects that improve people’s lives. Some clear examples of his work are: the House of Negotiation for conflicts in everyday life; a toy library where underprivileged children can play who have not previously been able to; and a bus stop which is used as a place to socialise. In the words of Josep-Maria Martín (Fad, 2015c), “they are projects that stimulate self-esteem and change paradigms”. The Enmedio Collective ([Enmedio Collective website], s.f.) has a similar approach. It is a group of image professionals, filmmakers, artists and designers who explore the transformative power of image. Their projects look at the world’s official narrative and invent new ways of relating with it. They promote other values and alleviate the problems that people experience as individuals, but that are in reality shared by everyone.

In order to broaden the range of decision-makers in the city, we met with the Zuloark group (FAD, 2015a).

Finally, we would like to highlight the Recetas urbanas group (FAD, 2015b), made up of architects and designers who work with sections of society with which public administration or the private sector do not collaborate. The aim is to suggest alternatives to official policy. To use design as a force for change.

A common denominator between the artists of the 1960s and the graphic designers of today is the desire to exchange objects for ideas.

3.6. Axis: Publicity, journalism, film, art, social innovation<

Since the end of the 20th century, there are known cases of film directors making adverts, such as Jean Luc Godard, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Wes Anderson, among others. And vice-versa, with TV advertising directors making films, like Ridley Scott. We also see visual artists carrying out work for brands. Today, people use social networks to participate in creating and recreating content. They are no longer passive recipients, but producers and consumers at the same time -prosumers-. Brands no longer communicate with consumers through mass media alone; they have to reach them in a more personalised way. The dynamics of social networks have led to the hybridisation of content in advertising in which the brand is in charge of the script. Advertising is mixed with journalism, film, TV series and entertainment in general. Digital marketing has appeared - which is taking over activity on social networks, branded content, native advertising and content ads - as well as influencer agencies. New collections are advertised with memes but what is unusual is that brands like Gucci are using them to reach their young target audience - and it is working. Concepts such as moonshots thinking have been created. Storytelling should create strategies for storydoing and lead to the creation of a storyliving. In other words, it is no longer just about telling the customer a story, but about making them experience it. In addition, users are asking brands to get involved and support their ideals. For example, they should not only advertise themselves as eco-friendly but also plant a thousand trees.

Native advertising, which is promotional advertising that is one hundred percent adapted to the environment in which it is shown, gained credibility when the mainstream media chose to use this format. This is the case of The New York Times, which has been displaying Paid Posts on its website for some years now. A classic example is the article commissioned by the producers of the series “Orange is The New Black” in 2014, about the difficulties experienced by women in prisons, which included videos and audio files. It was a way to reach the public and make them interested in the topic through a prestigious media such as the New York Times, lending credibility to the series. Another type of media worth mentioning is digital media such as Playground ([Playground website], s.f.) or Vice ([Vice website], s.f.), digital native media that target young audiences. The so-called “millennial media”. The aim of these media is social engagement, explaining what does not appear in the traditional media in order to empower citizens, as well as offering new formats and entertainment. However, these media have still not found their business model and are facing their first crisis (Rubio Hancock, 2019). Their dependence on social networks and desire for rapid growth are potentially the reason for this. According to Melle, Pardo, Tournal et al. (2017) “The digitalisation of society has led to the emergence of transmedia storytelling”. However, we could see them as mimicking transmedia activity in advertising, which has regularly increased its messages on different media throughout its history. The same can be said of the practice of storytelling, given that advertising has always been based on stories narrative proposals related to brands. Jenkins (2006), in Convergence Culture, highlighted the strong connection between transmedia storytelling and the world of branding. Scolari (2013) discusses branding, merchandising and transmedia narratives. Transmedia storytelling adopt modes and forms of advertising. Marketing expands into fiction. “Harry Potter, Indiana Jones or Terminator are not simply characters but, for all intents and purposes, powerful commercial brands” (Scolari, 2013, p. 289). In short, in relation to the hybridisation between advertising and fiction, narratives are extended for adverts and new fiction formats are created that are, in themselves, adverts. There are cases in which characters from TV series are presented on social networks as if they were real people. All of the above indicates the existence of a hybrid world between narrative and advertising, which is also fed by the prosumers who add their content. With regard to solidarity advertising, it is often used as a strategy for brands to increase sales, build trust with the consumer and give them credibility. If we look at solidarity adverts, we find groups of volunteer creative directors who run campaigns that are not used as an incentive to buy. A good example of this is the London-based organisation The International Exchange, which connects the private sector with the social sector. It identifies specific NGO projects in developing countries that need help with advertising and the professionals spend a month there developing the campaign to help them meet their objectives. It is also worth mentioning Publicitarios Implicados ([Publicitarios Implicados], s.f.), a solidarity association made up of professionals and students, based in Barcelona. They provide a complete service from creating the idea to media programming for small charities, platforms for those affected by rare diseases or solidarity associations that do not have a single euro to invest in advertising. When we look at the sections on solidarity advertising, we always find projects that are hybridisations of advertising and social innovation. To finish we would like to present an initiative created during lockdown by Irene Llorca, Emma Calvo and José Guerrero, three advertising friends who live in Barcelona: CAM, The Covid Art Museum ([The Covid Museum website], s.f.). It is a virtual museum open 24 hours a day with free admission. The requirements are that the works must be about lockdown and they must have a certain artistic quality. There are images of humour and tragedy, all of which aim to document, through art, the experience of the pandemic. It is a clear example of advertising initiatives that spread into the field of art.

4. Conclusions

Trying to make a compilation of hybridisation examples could result in an endless list that causes it to lose its role as a taxonomy, but the author’s extensive background in transdisciplinary practices and studies analysing hybridisation in different areas have made it possible to define axes for mapping hybridisation and guiding the search for examples and cases.

This study, although based on years of observation, research and experimentation, is only an initial exploration of the hybridisations and overlaps between disciplines and sectors. What it shows so far is that the important thing is not so much the number of examples given but the definition of the axes, which are what allow us to continue searching for hybridisation cases and combinations.

In addition, it also commits to future research, to reviewing the axes of hybridisation and to comparing them with professionals and amateurs in the field of communication and art in order to assess possible ways of improving this classification. It should be noted that specific research needs to be carried out into areas such as photography, literature, video games and interactive documentary, and their mixture with film and other disciplines, as well as the relationship of hybridisation between art and science.

This search and classification of hybridisations has allowed us to see that media languages that were once separate are not remixed as extensively as techniques. We could say that hybridisations have evolved in parallel with technological advances such as the cinematograph, video camera and photocopiers and have been highlighted by breaking away from established formats, such as video art which denounces television, and by manifesting themselves in ways such as performance which have emerged with the aim of prioritising ideas over objects in a purely transdisciplinary manner. While it is true that digital culture has brought about the greatest transformation because of its participatory nature, hybridisations did not begin in the digital era.

There are various popular experimental approaches, both in terms of format and content, that reappropriate elements of the narrative and aesthetic of traditional media and reproduce, challenge or transcend it.

This study raises key questions in relation to the limitless creativity that users show on a daily basis as a result of merging or juxtaposing different elements. Which of these resulting hybrid products are a bad collage and which incorporate true innovation? How many of these ideas that emerge from the mixture, combination and crossover between disciplines turn out to be guides that are good enough quality to be used as references?3

Those of us who have been teaching creativity for years have seen that this is a human ability that improves with practice and immersion in innovative models. In turn, one of the fundamental operations of creativity is the association of ideas, analogy, mixing and combination of examples that leads to new things. This research and compilation of cases strengthens the proposal to design a subject dedicated to hybridisation and transdisciplinarity in communication, art and culture as a way to encourage creativity and obtain better, differentiated and innovative results. It also addresses a basic premise of creativity: to know the leading figures that have worked in this area throughout history.

Teaching in a compartmentalised world of Faculties of Communication, Fine Arts, Design, Economics, Advertising and others with subjects that cover specific topics such as the history of film, photography and sociology makes perfect sense, but the proposal of this article to incorporate a subject that focusses on hybridisation and transdisciplinarity is fundamental because it will present the current transdisciplinary world and because its content has the same DNA as the creative process and will serve to stimulate and optimise ideas.

Sources of funding

The results of this work are part of the coordinated R&D&I project entitled “Interactive storytelling and digital visibility in interactive documentary and structured journalism. RTI2018-095714-B-C21 (MICIN/FEDER)” funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


Alcalá Mellado, J. R. (2014). La condición de la imagen digital. Estudios iconográficos para su análisis y clasificación, Icono 14, (12), 113-140.

Alemán, M. C. (3 de octubre de 2015). ¿Qué es el found footage?: Las posibilidades del archivo. Festival internacional de cine de Morella. Recovered from

Areblad, P., Mendiharat, A. (28 de julio de 2009). La intersección entre el arte y la empresa como vía para generar innovación y creatividad. Pía Areblad, directora de Tillt y Arantxa Mediharat, coordinadora de Disonancias. Euskadi innova.

Belting, H., & Viola, B. (2004). Conversación. En Fundación “La Caixa”. (Ed.), Bill Viola, las pasiones (págs. 151-184). Barcelona: Fundación “La Caixa”.

Brea, J. (2002). La era postmedia. Acción comunicativa, prácticas (post) artísticas y dispositivos neomediales. Editorial CASA. Centro de Arte de Salamanca.

Burguess, J. E. (2006). Hearing Ordinary Voices: Vernacular creativity and new media. Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. (20), Issue 2, 201-214.

Camuñas Maroto, M. (2014). Videoactivismo. La acción política cámara en mano. e-Lis Repository.

Code±Nowness, la instalación plató Workflow Livestream. (s.f.). Livemedia

[Colectivo enmedio web]. (s.f.).Colectivo enmedio.

[Conexiones Improbables web]. (s.f.). Conexiones Improbables.

[Covid Art Museum web]. (s.f.). Covid Art Museum CAM.

Deren, M., Martínez, C. (ed. lit.). (2015). El universo dereniano. Textos fundamentales de la cineasta Maya Deren. Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha.

[Disonancias web]. (s.f.). Disonancias.

[Documenta Madrid web]. (s.f.). Documenta Madrid.

Eisenstein, S. (Director). (1925). El acorazado Potemkin [película].

[Espacio Guía web]. (s.f.) Espacio Guía.

Fad Barcelona. (23 de marzo de 2015a). Disseny i transformació social. Manuel Domínguez [Archivo de Vídeo]. Youtube.

Fad Barcelona. (23 de marzo de 2015b). Disseny i transformació social. Santiago Cirugeda [Archivo de Vídeo]. Youtube.

Fad Barcelona. (3 de agosto de 2015c). Disseny i transformació social. Josep-Maria Martín [Archivo de vídeo]. Youtube.

Fad Barcelona. (23 de diciembre de 2015d). Dolor. Simona Levi [Archivo de Vídeo]. Youtube.

Flaherty, R. (Director). (1921). Nanuk el esquinal [película].

Galán Zarzuelo, M. (2012). Cine militante y videoactivismo: los discursos audiovisuales de los movimientos sociales. Revista Comunicación, 1(10), 1091-1102.

García López, S., & Gómez Vaquero, L. (Ed). (2009). Piedra, papel y tijera. El collage en el cine documental. Ocho y medio, Libros de cine.

Giménez Lorang, N. (Directora). (2019). My Mexica Bretzel [película]. Bretzel & Tequila Film Productions, Avalon P.C.

Gubern, R. (2014). Historia del cine. Anagrama.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide. New York University Press.

[Livemedia web]. (s.f.). Espacio Guía.

[Loop Barcelona web]. (s.f.) Loop Barcelona.

McMahan, A. (2002). Alice Guy Blaché, Lost Visionary of the Cinema. McM.

Melle, M., Pardo, A., Tournal, C. & otros. (2017). La dimensión transmedia de Harry Potter: rasgos de las extensiones canónicas, Icono 14, volumen 15 (2), pp. 1-24.

Murray, R. Caulier-Grice, J & Mulgan, G. “The Open Book Of Social Innovation”, NESTA, The Young Foundation 2010.

Myrick, D. & Sánchez, E. (Director). (1999). Blair witch Project [Película]. Haxan Films.

Obradors, M., Rocha, I. & Fernández-Aballí, A. (2018). Approach to the new videographies analysis: Case study of immigrant representations in the Social Innovation Laboratory videos (SIL UBIQA). Semiotica, Volume 2018, Issue 224, pp. 85-110, DOI:

Obradors M. (2020) Practice as research: la investigación a través de la práctica en las artes creativas: enfoques y métodos. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament de Comunicació; 45 p.

Oliva, C. & Torres Monreal, F. (2000): Historia básica del arte escénico. Editorial Cátedra.

[Playground web]. (s.f.). Playground.

[Publicitarios implicados web]. (s.f.). Publicitarios implicados

Rubio Hancock, J. (3 de Febrero de 2019) La nueva prensa digital se enfrenta a su primera gran crisis.

Ruiz Martín, J.M. & Alcalá Mellado, J.R. (2016). Los cuatro ejes de la cultura participativa actual. De las plataformas virtuales al medialab, Icono 14, (14), pp. 95-122.

Sierra Caballero, F. & Montero Sánchez, D. (2015). Videoactivismo y movimientos sociales. Teoría y praxis de las multitudes conectadas. Gedisa.

Scolari, C. A. (2013). Narrativas transmedia. Cuando todos los medios cuentan. Deusto.

[Storycenter web]. (s.f.). Storycenter.

Taylor, D. & Fuentes, M. (2011) Estudios avanzados de performance. Fondo de cultura económica.

Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación para la Interculturalidad. (s.f.).

[The international exchange web]. (s.f.). The international exchange.

[Tillt web]. (s.f.) Tillt.

Vertov, D. (Director). (1929). El hombre de la cámara [película].

[Vice web]. (s.f.). Vice.

Vila, N. (2012). Videoactivismo 2.0: revueltas, producción audiovisual y cultura libre?.Toma Uno (1), 167-176

Warhol, A. (1975) Mi filosofía de A a B y de B a A. Tusquets

Youngblood, G. (2012). Cine expandido. Eduntref. Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero.


  1. In relation to video art, it is worth mentioning the pioneering video artist Bill Viola, who has become part of more popular exhibitions that have now made video art known to a wider public. This may also be the case for Pipilotti Rist. We could say that little by little, video art has become legitimate.
  2. We refer to the artistic movement of Fluxus visual arts which are related to music, literature and dance. The Fluxus movement, happenings, performance and video art revolutionised the art scene in the 1960s and 1970s.
  3. These questions coincide with those posed by other researchers such as J.R. Alcalá (2014:115): Can the millions of images that are constructed and disseminated on a daily basis aspire to become unique and model icons, distinguishable from others and proposing styles and aesthetics that have a specific personality?

Licencia de Creative Commons

Este obra está bajo una licencia de licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento 4.0 Internacional.