Art Panel

Cybernetics, Art and Creativity

Cybernetics and creativity are two inseparable concepts. Both directly and indirectly, early Cybernetics influenced art, and along with the technological context of the moment marked the beginnings of computer based artistic practices. But beyond this influence, there is a stronger component that ties both fields together: the experimental, practice based approach to knowledge through which Wiener and his contemporaries developed their theories, which is closely related to how artists experiment in their creative process. In some cases, such as some of Ashby’s or Pask’s work, the line that separates Cybenetic and artistic work is either diffuse or inexistent, but also in non art-inclined experiments the approach is coincidental. Cybernetitians built experimental devices as working models of their theoretical endeavors, which would in term inform the development of the theories that framed them. Through these practices they elaborated an approach to (scientific) knowledge that, much like art practice, revolves around the action in the world rather than the representing of it.

The panel will look at this aspect of cybernetics, covering topics that will range from Wiener’s understanding of the human brain to how Pask’s working style and art pieces constituted a model for approaching media.



Joan Soler-Adillon

SONY DSCGraduated in Philosophy by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Master’s  degree by the New York University (Interactive Telecommunications Program; Tisch School of the Arts) and by Universitat Pompeu Fabra  (Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media). Joan has worked since 2005 in Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (Catalonia) where he is a lecturer on interactive communication and digital arts in the Communication Department. His research is currently centered on the concept of emergence in interactive art, and also includes the study of social networks and the new journalistic interactive based narratives of web and app based documentaries.


Dr. Andrew Pickering

pickeringAndrew Pickering is internationally known as a leader in the field of science and technology studies. He is the author of ‘Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics,’ ‘The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science’ and ‘Kybernetik und Neue Ontologien,’ and he is the editor of several collections of research essays, including ‘Science as Practice and Culture’ and (with Keith Guzik) ‘The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society and Becoming.’ He has written on topics as diverse as post-World War II particle physics; mathematics, science and industry in the 19th-century; and science, technology and warfare in and since WWII. His latest book, ‘The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future’ was published in 2010.  It analyses cybernetics as a distinctive form of life spanning brain science, psychiatry, robotics, the theory of complex systems, management, politics, the arts, education, spirituality and the 1960s counterculture, and argues that cybernetics offers a promising alternative to currently hegemonic cultural formations. Growing out of his work on cybernetics, Andrew’s current research focuses on art, agency, the environment and traditional Chinese philosophy.

Dr. Peter Cariani 

CarianiPeter Cariani’s training and work has involved theoretical biology, biological cybernetics, and neuroscience (B.S. 1978, MIT, biology; M.S. 1982, Ph.D. 1989, Binghamton University, systems science). His doctoral work developed a semiotics of percept–action systems, formulated a taxonomy of self-constructing adaptive systems, and explored epistemic implications of evolutionary robotics. Subsequent work has investigated temporal codes and neural timing nets that may subserve pitch and rhythm perception in the auditory system.  Currently a Senior Research Scientist in the Hearing Research Center at Boston University and a Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School, Cariani teaches courses related to the neuropsychology of music perception at Harvard University. He has written on a wide range of subjects, including auditory theory, history of cybernetics, biosemiotics, neural basis of consciousness, radical constructivism, emergence and creativity, and the foundations of mathematics.


Dr. Paul Pangaro

pangaro_blogPangaro’s career spans product strategy, prescriptive innovation, and organizational dynamics, with roles as technology executive, professor of cybernetics, entrepreneur, and performer. Through prototyping, lecturing and writing, Paul has applied cybernetics to the cognitive and organizational needs of human beings. He co-taught a course in cybernetics and design with Hugh Dubberly at Stanford University in Terry Winograd’s program for six years and has lectured on conversational software in São Paulo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Toronto, and in cities in the US. Paul studied computer science and humanities at MIT, where he made award-winning computer-generated films. Nicholas Negroponte hired him to work in what became the MIT Media Lab. He earned a Ph.D. in cybernetics and conversation theory at Brunel University with Gordon Pask.

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