Letter from Stony Brook: Open Call for Cybernetics and Art Papers

by Rea McNamara on March 9, 2016 Newswire

Norbert Wiener, the originator of cybernetics.

Norbert Wiener, the originator of cybernetics.

When we last heard from our former senior editor Corinna Kirsch, she had filed last August an incendiary AFC Reports investigation into sexism in art writing, and then signed off to focus on her PhD in Art History at Stony Brook University. If you could glean from one of her best unrepresented artist pick from last year, her current research interests include intersections between art and technology since the postwar period. And she’s co-chairing a cybernetics and art panel this fall that’s soliciting an open call for papers.

Here’s further information regarding the panel, entitled Cybernetics and Art on the Global Stage:

This panel will explore the dynamic relationship between art and cybernetics from 1948 through the present. Cybernetics was first publicly articulated in 1948 by the MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener in his book Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. As a concept, cybernetics gained interdisciplinary traction through the Macy Conferences, a series of meetings that took place in New York from 1941-1960 with the stated goal of unifying the sciences. Cybernetics soon expanded beyond an esoteric mathematical theory to encompass a wide range of humanist concerns, most famously expressed in Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964), and Jack Burnham’s “Systems Esthetics,” published in Artforum in September 1968. What have not been addressed are the alternate approaches to cybernetics found outside the epicenter of cybernetic discourse. Edward Shanken has already done important work on the cybernetic interests of the Art and Language movement in the UK. This panel will solicit papers that account for artists’ encounters with cybernetics on a global scale, resulting in a richer understanding of what cybernetics meant within differing contexts. Yet to be explored, for example, are the New Tendencies and Brazilian Concrete and Neo-concrete contributions to cybernetics and art.

Kirsch and her co-chair Megan Hines are keen to receive proposals for 20-minute papers from artists and well as art historians. Deadline for proposals is April 20. The application form is online, and can be found here.

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