Liss C. Werner (ed.): Cybernetics: State of the Art (2017)

8 July 2018, dusan

“Driven by cybernetic thinking, this book engages with pressing questions for architecture, urban planning, design and automated infrastructure; in an age of increasing connectivity, AI and robotization and an evolutionary state of the Anthropocene – perpetuating angst-ridden anxiety as well as excitement and joy of a future, that we will be able to predict with less and less certainty. The book discusses cybernetic principles and devices developed in the late 20th century – mainly developed by Ross Ashby and Gordon Pask (second-order cybernetics), to learn from for a future of mutual relationship and conversation between man and machine.

The anthology reviews and previews cybernetics as design strategy in computational architecture, urban design and socio-ecological habitats – natural and artificial. It weaves together cybernetic-architectural theories with applications and case studies ranging from regional planning to the smart home.

Nine chapters written by an international group of authors are structured into two complimenting parts. While ‘A Concept and a Shape’ focuses on the history and theory of cybernetics, its temporary disappearance and future impact (Raúl Espejo, Michael Hohl, Paul Pangaro, Liss C. Werner), ‘System 5’ – relating to Stafford Beer’s project ‘Cybersyn’ – discusses applications, the role of the individual and human feedback; also with a strong theoretical underpinning (Raoul Bunschoten, Delfina Fantini van Ditmar, Timothy Jachna, Arun Jain, Kristian Kloeckl).”

With foreword by Omar Khan
Publisher Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin, Berlin, Nov 2017
Con-versations series, 1
Creative Commons BY 4.0 International License
ISBN 9783798329539
xxvii+173 pages

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Erich Hörl, James Burton (eds.): General Ecology: The New Ecological Paradigm (2017)

3 October 2017, dusan

“Ecology has become one of the most urgent and lively fields in both the humanities and sciences. In a dramatic widening of scope beyond its original concern with the coexistence of living organisms within a natural environment, it is now recognized that there are ecologies of mind, information, sensation, perception, power, participation, media, behavior, belonging, values, the social, the political… a thousand ecologies. This proliferation is not simply a metaphorical extension of the figurative potential of natural ecology: rather, it reflects the thoroughgoing imbrication of natural and technological elements in the constitution of the contemporary environments we inhabit, the rise of a cybernetic natural state, with its corresponding mode of power. Hence this ecology of ecologies initiates and demands that we go beyond the specificity of any particular ecology: a general thinking of ecology which may also constitute an ecological transformation of thought itself is required.

In this ambitious and radical new volume of writings, some of the most exciting contemporary thinkers in the field take on the task of revealing and theorizing the extent of the ecologization of existence as the effect of our contemporary sociotechnological condition: together, they bring out the complexity and urgency of the challenge of ecological thought-one we cannot avoid if we want to ask and indeed have a chance of affecting what forms of life, agency, modes of existence, human or otherwise, will participate-and how-in this planet’s future.”

With texts by Erich Hörl, Luciana Parisi, Frédéric Neyrat, Bernard Stiegler, Didier Debaise, Jussi Parikka, Bruce Clarke, Cary Wolfe, David Wills, James Burton, Elena Esposito, Timothy Morton, Matthew Fuller and Olga Goriunova, and Brian Massumi.

Publisher Bloomsbury Academic, London/New York, 2017
ISBN 9781350014695, 1350014699
xv+384 pages

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Hans Haacke: Working Conditions: The Writings of Hans Haacke (2016)

1 July 2017, dusan

“Hans Haacke’s art articulates the interdependence of multiple elements. An artwork is not merely an object but is also its context—the economic, social, and political conditions of the art world and the world at large. Among his best-known works are MoMA-Poll (1970), which polled museumgoers on their opinions about Nelson Rockefeller and the Nixon administration’s Indochina policy; Gallery-Goers’ Birthplace and Residence Profile (1969), which canvassed visitors to the Howard Wise Gallery in Manhattan; and the famously canceled 1971 solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, which was meant to display, among other things, works on two New York real estate empires.

This volume collects writings by Haacke that explain and document his practice. The texts, some of which have never before been published, run from straightforward descriptions to wide-ranging reflections and full-throated polemics. They include correspondence with MoMA and the Guggenheim and a letter refusing to represent the United States at the 1969 São Paulo Biennial; the title piece, “Working Conditions,” which discusses corporate influence on the art world; Haacke’s thinking about “real-time social systems”; and texts written for museum catalogs on various artworks, including GERMANIA, in the German Pavilion of the 1993 Venice Biennial; DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population) of 2000 at the Berlin Reichstag; Mixed Messages, an exhibition of objects from the Victoria and Albert Museum (2001); and Gift Horse, unveiled on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2015.”

Edited and with an Introduction by Alexander Alberro
Publisher MIT Press, 2016
Writing Art series
ISBN 9780262034838, 0262034832
lii+290 pages

Review: Greg Lindquist (Brooklyn Rail, 2016).

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