Contemporary Art & Cybernetics



Powers of Projection: Contemporary Art & Cybernetics

Saturday, 24 July 2021 : 18:00 Hrs – 19.30 Hrs IST

 Though underacknowledged, the lasting influence of cybernetics on visual art has been significant. Norbert Wiener’s characterization of communication as both a feedback loop and a self-governing machine greatly informed the technological experimentation of artists in the 1960s, rethinking everything from sculpture to performance as interactive experiences. And as digital and networked devices became more accessible throughout the 1970s and 80s, many artists strove to incorporate a new identity in the making of their work—the user. Subsequently, contemporary art increasingly came to typify the participatory and self-reflexive principles of second-wave cybernetics as theorized by Margaret Mead and Donna Haraway, among others.

These ‘seriously circular’ cybernetic tendencies continue to surface today in the creation of dynamic networked narratives and explicitly recursive imagery. In particular, digital projection technologies have given artists a means to explore telepresence—the extension of self across time-spaces—and new modes of embodiment based on the confluence of material and immaterial systems for representation. As a mode of world-building via strategic layering and interruption of space, the act of projection also lends itself to critical explorations of the system-environment relation, which cybernetics articulates so well.

What then is the ultimate value of projection—as an artistic mode of invention and intervention—to ongoing discourses in cybernetics? And how can contemporary artists engaging such technologies and techniques contribute to these discussions? This special topic panel convenes professional artists and artist-academics to offer both practical and theoretical perspectives on the roles of projection and cybernetic thinking in the context of 21st century artmaking.

Featured in this discussion will be an artist’s talk by internationally renowned digital media and installation artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who will discuss some of the practical challenges of working with digital projection as an interactive medium as well as share some of his creative process and studio experiments.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Professional Media Artist, Montréal, Canada Home Page:
Evelin Stermitz, Professional Media Artist & Foundress of ArtFem.TV, Vienna, Austria Home Page:
Dr. Madhan Karky, Lyricist, Screenwriter, Researcher, Chennai, India
Zach Pearl, MFA, Media Arts Curator & PhD Candidate, University of Waterloo, Toronto, Canada

Session Organizers:

Dr. Madhan Karky
Home Page:
Mr. Zach Pearl
Home Page:

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