40 years ago, Jasia Reichart’s exhibition “Cybernetic Serendipity” showed that the interactive confluence of cybernetics, computing and art had
arrived. (60 years ago, Norbert Wiener published his book “Cybernetics”. 50 years ago the worlds first electronic performance installation–the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World Fair–was launched.)
40 years later, while computers and art remain, cybernetics has nearly vanished, although there is a reviving interest in it in art.
In remembering Cybernetic Serendipity we have the chance to re-open the debate, to reconsider the relationship particularly between cybernetics and art, and to do so taking into account the way that cybernetics has developed during its period of near invisibility. Thus, we can revisit and reconsider: if Cybernetic Serendipity were to be launched today, what should go in it, how should it be exhibited, and what would cybernetics and art learn from each other?
That, of course, depends not only on developments in art practice, but also (and more critically) on what is new in cybernetics, and how can that inform art: and, what is new in art, and how can that inform cybernetics. (more…)