Annual Conf of Assoc. of Art Historians Session: Art and Cybernetics/ Art and Technology (April 2013, Berkshire UK)

Dates: 11-13 April 2013
Location: University of Reading, Berkshire UK
Website: http://www.aah.org.uk/annual-conference/2013-conference
Deadline for proposals: 12 November 2012

The session for the annual conference of the Association of Art Historians (April 11-13, 2013) redresses a lack of attention to cybernetics globally. It invites presenters in the visual arts and from non-art disciplines to reconsider or generate new knowledge about generations and geographies of art and cybernetics and art and technology, including practices that create, distribute, and theorize art forms, concepts, and histories. Papers may explore cybernetic phenomena in artistic environments; examine artistic play on logic and reason; consider how art or non-art agents treat cybernetics as a social and cultural paradigm, or question 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.

Please send your proposal to Maia Toteva (mtt235@gmail.com) and Jennifer Way (jway@unt.edu) by 12 November 2012. Every proposal should include:
1. Preliminary abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages;
2. Letter explaining speaker’s interest and expertise in the topic;
3. CV with home and office mailing addresses, email address, and phone numbers.
4. Documentation of work when appropriate, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own work

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About Filippo Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil.

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