Cybernetics

Ecology and cybernetics towards network society capitalism

This post comes to you from Cultura21

HKW_LogoJune 21-22nd,2013, The World Earth – Conference, in Berlin

The exhibition and the conference The Whole Earth are dedicated to the story of the image of the “blue planet”. The project takes its starting point in historical developments in California since the 1960s : using materials from cultural history and artistic works. Curated by Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke, the exhibition will critically explore the application of ecological-systemic concepts to society, politics, and aesthetics.

The conference will revolve around questions of the legacy of the California counterculture. Roundtable discussions will explore the historical sources of, and connections between, discursive and political issues such as the ecological movement, cybernetics, anti-conformist cultures, new artistic practices that dissolve boundaries, and the transformations in these areas right up to the globalist network capitalism of the 1990s.

For more information about the program :www.hkw.de/en/programm/2013/the_whole_earth/veranstaltungen_83124/veranstaltungsdetail_88180.php

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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An Ecology of Ideas Conference – July 9-13, 2012 (USA)

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) and the Bateson Idea Group (BIG), a new organization exploring Gregory Bateson’s “pattern that connects,” have joined to hold a conference on the relations among ideas as seen from multiple perspectives. In organizing this conference they seek to find a balance between the spontaneous and the planned. They intend to seed conversations with various forms of presentation, ranging from keynote speakers to workshops and performances; all of which can be considered works of art in the domain of ideas. They will provide many spaces for conversation and innovation.

The three themes of this conference are:

Paradigm

What do our current paradigms determine or enable, and what would changes to these imply? How could we guess what other things would change along with the changes we desire? How would we implement a shift in an ethical and socially acceptable manner?

Recursion

Recursion (like its fellow concepts, self-reference and reflexivity) is open to many interpretations depending on who you are, and the context you are in. We are interested in both what is held in common between these different interpretations, and what is particular to each. We wish to explore not only the implications of acting based on how we understand these ideas, but also what happens when we proceed unaware of the differences.

Praxis

Why are praxis and theory often separated; and how can they better be brought together? In what ways are the ideas of cybernetics and systems inherently concerned with practice? Does the phrase “the paradox of praxis” evoke a resonance?

Program

The program will offer a compelling network of ideas to inspire participants in creating their own ideas, insights and thoughts. There will be a mix of meeting types: plenary presentations, workshops, conversations, and evening performances taking place in the wonderful spaces (and, weather permitting, grounds) of the Asilomar Conference Facility.

The following invited speakers will be making plenary presentations:
Graham Barnes
Eric Bateson
Nora Bateson
Fritjof Capra
Humberto Maturana
Ximena Dávila
Terrence Deacon
Debora Hammond
Klaus Krippendorff
Rex Weyler
Carol Wilder

Nora Bateson will show her award-winning film, An Ecology of Mind, about her father’s life’s work. Other performances will include film, multimedia, theatre, and music. The workshops for this conference will be designed as participatory experiences that in some manner generate or demonstrate ideas and concepts. They will have theme based conversations and also provide many convivial spaces for spontaneous conversations. A full program will be published on the organizers website by early May.

Venue

Asilomar is a National Historic Landmark is located on 107 acres of beautiful and ecologically diverse beachfront land. Asilomar offers a unique and desirable conference experience in its natural setting, its conference facilities, and its suitability for conversational spaces. http://www.visitasilomar.com/
Conference participants must book with the Asilomar site for accommodation and meals.

Important Dates

Apr-30 Proposals for Abstracts (papers and workshops) due
Apr-30 Early Bird Registration closes
May-10 Referees respond to proposals
May-20 Any Revisions to Abstracts due
May-30 Abstracts published online
May-30 Program details published online
July-09 Conference starts

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Synth-ethic vs Vandana Shiva

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Synth-ethic: Art and Synthetic Biology Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria.

Synthetic biology is at the scientific cutting edge, but also on the ethical edge.  The works in this exhibition explore that edge.  The curatorial essay starts with the principle that synthesis is one of the fundamental practices within art.  As the exhibition title suggests, when moving from mimesis to synthesising with the living, ethics need to be half the work.

Art has always involved synthesis. Uniting disparate elements, putting them into a collage to create new works, metaphors, sensory experiences, or aesthetic genres, however, is also inherent to a curiosity, present in every epoch, for finding new ways of creating with new expressive media. Those contemporary artists, who in recent years have begun to employ laboratory methods and biotechnology for their own purposes in new contexts and to modify living systems, are particularly “close to life”. Here, it would seem, the newly declared discipline of synthetic biology is well-suited to the task, seeking, as it does, not only to modify existing organisms but to design “life” anew, from the ground up. Yet, this biological science is not concerned with living beings but rather with components, circuits, and systems. The language of engineering has been shifted to biology. These new dimensions to our technical ability to act, however, call for a new ethical engagement concerning the question of how and whether we should act simply because we can. The exhibition synth-ethic offers perspectives on human intervention in biotechnology and the responsibility that arises with it. Artists appropriate these technologies for their own purposes, see through the mania of novelty and beyond the constraints of economics to examine the areas of tension between molecular biology and ecology, architecture and biochemistry, technology and nature, cybernetics and alchemy.

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But reading Vandana Shiva‘s text The Corporate Control of Life (Hatje Cantz, 2011) provides a different and significant critical perspective on these issues.  Shiva sets out the activist work of many years challenging the corporatisation of nature.  She articulates the powerful arguments against the application of IPR to biodiversity and the impact on farmers, women and indigenous people.  Underlying her argument is an epistemological position radically at odds with the economically driven epistemology of Western corporate and governmental cultures which she describes as biopiracy.  She says (2011, p8),

The rise  of reductionist science was linked with the commercialization of science and resulted in the domination of women and non-Western peoples.  Their diverse knowledge systems were not treated as legitimate ways of knowing.  With commercialization as the objective, reductionism becaue the criterion of scientific validity.  Nonreductionist and ecological ways of knowing, and nonreductionist and ecological systems of knowledge, were pushed out and marginalized.

The genetic-engineering paradigm is now pushing out the last remnants of ecological paradigms by redefining living organisms and biodiversity as “man-made” phenomena.  Patenting life was transformed into international law through the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In the context of this epistemological critique, artists need to step with care into the field of Synthetic Biology and the work of the Critical Art Ensemble is, amongst others, exemplary for demonstrating the potential for art to position itself as an effective counterpoint to corporate-political cultures.  One must question carefully the ability of artists to appropriate these technologies, and the form of appropriation must manifest the critique.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland