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Re: <nettime> Whatever Happened to Cybernetics?
Joseph Nechvatal on Sun, 4 Nov 2007 16:16:05 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Whatever Happened to Cybernetics?


 

Jack Burnham's book Beyond Modern Sculpture arrived at the conclusion 
that cybernetic sculpture, or rather the cybernetically informed      
sculptor, is not simply adopting new materials and new standards of   
fabrication, but evolving a new aesthetic, now synchronised with      
technical ideals. Cybernetics had demonstrated that the configuration 
of a system is an index of the performance which may be expected from 
it, hence cybernetics' extremely circular-state yields an extended    
aesthetic consciousness on the basis of connected self-attentiveness  
and it is within this elastic self-attentive aesthetic framework      
where we will expect to find new immersive attitudes emerging in art. 

I write this while listening to Steve Reich?s circular compositions   
from the early 1970s ? which to me are as much dada as they are       
cybernetic.                                                           

The recontextualisation of the object d'art into a circular           
envelopment of the environment (where the viewer is pulled away from  
the constraining aperture of the picture frame and more and more      
from the gallery frame) is indicative of the immersive qualities      
of the era. This radically disframing opened up the viewing cone      
of the 1950s' post-cubist/post-war painting space towards a more      
thorough literalization of the imagined (or implied) non-partial      
field of universal surroundings of Fontana's Spatialist-type          
conceptualisations of abstract space. Here framed areas of space      
may not be singled out and be made to represent the totality of the   
viewer's holonetric range.                                            


See Eddie Shanken?s piece (pdf) The House that Jack Built: Jack 
Burnham's Concept of Software as a Metaphor for Art  here: 
http://artexetra.com/ 

 

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