Art and Cybernetics/ Art and Technology (cfp due November 12, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Way and Maia Toteva

Art and Cybernetics/ Art and Technology

Deadline: Nov 12, 2012

This session for the Association of Art Historians Conference, Reading UK (April 11-12, 2013) redresses a lack of attention to cybernetics globally and seeks to reconsider and generate new knowledge about generations and geographies of art and cybernetics, including practices that create, distribute, and theorize art forms, concepts, and histories. Potential topics include cybernetic phenomena in artistic environments and in relation to technology; artistic play on logic and reason; how art or non-art agents treat cybernetics as a social and cultural paradigm, or how cybernetics is presented in historiographies of recent art and what interfaces of cybernetics and art bode for intra- and inter-disciplinary research and practice.

It has been more than six decades since cybernetics was introduced to the English-speaking world by Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, and Warren Weaver. Stimulated by the information explosion in the 195Os, it grew as an international phenomenon that challenged disciplinary boundaries and preconceptions. Cybernetic models of "self-reproducing automata" brought about an enhanced understanding of informational and communication systems, engendered artificial intelligence and machine-biological interfaces (cyborgs), and impacted game theory. In the West, cybernetics had a lasting effect on art and popular culture from interactive art, performance, and computer art, to telematic art and American Idol. The "new science," however, received a different reception in USSR. After its initial hostility, the Soviet government endorsed cybernetics as a panacea ensuring the rational control of a failing centralized economy. The interdisciplinary umbrella of Soviet cybernetics protected underground art—from kinetic constructions and installations, to conceptual art and performance.

Proposals to Maia Toteva ( and Jennifer Way ( by 11/12/2012. Include abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages; letter explaining your interest and expertise in the topic, and cv.