Bruce Clarke, Mark B. N. Hansen (eds.): Emergence and Embodiment: New Essays on Second-Order Systems Theory (2009)

1 December 2013, dusan

“Emerging in the 1940s, the first cybernetics—the study of communication and control systems—was mainstreamed under the names artificial intelligence and computer science and taken up by the social sciences, the humanities, and the creative arts. In Emergence and Embodiment, Bruce Clarke and Mark B. N. Hansen focus on cybernetic developments that stem from the second-order turn in the 1970s, when the cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster catalyzed new thinking about the cognitive implications of self-referential systems. The crucial shift he inspired was from first-order cybernetics’ attention to homeostasis as a mode of autonomous self-regulation in mechanical and informatic systems, to second-order concepts of self-organization and autopoiesis in embodied and metabiotic systems. The collection opens with an interview with von Foerster and then traces the lines of neocybernetic thought that have followed from his work.

In response to the apparent dissolution of boundaries at work in the contemporary technosciences of emergence, neocybernetics observes that cognitive systems are operationally bounded, semi-autonomous entities coupled with their environments and other systems. Second-order systems theory stresses the recursive complexities of observation, mediation, and communication. Focused on the neocybernetic contributions of von Foerster, Francisco Varela, and Niklas Luhmann, this collection advances theoretical debates about the cultural, philosophical, and literary uses of their ideas. In addition to the interview with von Foerster, Emergence and Embodiment includes essays by Varela and Luhmann. It engages with Humberto Maturana’s and Varela’s creation of the concept of autopoiesis, Varela’s later work on neurophenomenology, and Luhmann’s adaptations of autopoiesis to social systems theory. Taken together, these essays illuminate the shared commitments uniting the broader discourse of neocybernetics.”

Contributors. Linda Brigham, Bruce Clarke, Mark B. N. Hansen, Edgar Landgraf, Ira Livingston, Niklas Luhmann, Hans-Georg Moeller, John Protevi, Michael Schiltz, Evan Thompson, Francisco J. Varela, Cary Wolfe.

Publisher Duke University Press, 2009
Science and Cultural Theory series
ISBN 0822391384, 9780822391388
285 pages

Review (Ramesh Mishra, MetaPsychology)



Sher Doruff: The Translocal Event and the Polyrhythmic Diagram (2006)

29 February 2012, dusan

This thesis identifies and analyses the key creative protocols in translocal performance practice, and ends with suggestions for new forms of transversal live and mediated performance practice, informed by theory. It argues that ontologies of emergence in dynamic systems nourish contemporary practice in the digital arts. Feedback in self-organised, recursive systems and organisms elicit change, and change transforms. The arguments trace concepts from chaos and complexity theory to virtual multiplicity, relationality, intuition and individuation (in the work of Bergson, Deleuze, Guattari, Simondon, Massumi, and other process theorists). It then examines the intersection of methodologies in philosophy, science and art and the radical contingencies implicit in the technicity of real-time, collaborative composition. Simultaneous forces or tendencies such as perception/memory, content/expression and instinct/intellect produce composites (experience, meaning, and intuition- respectively) that affect the sensation of interplay. The translocal event is itself a diagram – an interstice between the forces of the local and the global, between the tendencies of the individual and the collective. The translocal is a point of reference for exploring the distribution of affect, parameters of control and emergent aesthetics. Translocal interplay, enabled by digital technologies and network protocols, is ontogenetic and autopoietic; diagrammatic and synaesthetic; intuitive and transductive. KeyWorx is a software application developed for real-time, distributed, multimodal media processing. As a technological tool created by artists, KeyWorx supports this intuitive type of creative experience: a real-time, translocal “jamming” that transduces the lived experience of a “biogram,” a synaesthetic hinge-dimension. The emerging aesthetics are processual – intuitive, diagrammatic and transversal.

Doctor of Philosophy, SMARTlab Programme in Performative New Media Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, London
288 pages

PDF (Appendix “The KeyWorx Interviews: Transcripts of Interviews and Conversations with KeyWorx Artists”)

Manuel DeLanda: Philosophy and Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason (2011)

14 May 2011, dusan

In this groundbreaking new book, Manuel Delanda analyzes all the different genres of simulation (from cellular automata and genetic algorithms to neural nets and multi-agent systems) as a means to conceptualize the possibility spaces associated with causal (and other) capacities. Simulations allow us to stage actual interactions among a population of agents and to observe the emergent wholes that result from those interactions.

Simulations have become as important as mathematical models in theoretical science. As computer power and memory have become cheaper they have migrated to the desktop, where they now play the role that small-scale experiments used to play. A philosophical examination of the epistemology of simulations is needed to cement this new role, underlining the consequences that simulations may have for materialist philosophy itself.

This remarkably clear philosophical discussion of a rapidly growing field, from a thinker at the forefront of research at the interface of science and the humanities, is a must-read for anyone interested in the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of science at all levels.

Publisher Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited, 2011
ISBN 1441170286, 9781441170286
226 pages

google books

PDF (updated on 2012-7-17)