May 3, 2011


An event last January that I wished I’d known about was the Signal:Noise event at The Show Room in London. The event seems to have been a historical overview of the influence of Cybernetics on new media art. How concepts such as communication and conversation theory, feedback etc. have influenced it’s development and become fundamental to the form.

Through the application of mechanical and scientific models for the understanding of social and political life, cybernetic theory – in particular notions of feedback – informed the development of many early conceptual and participatory artistic practices in the 1960s/70s, yet its influence is still under-recognized. Signal:Noise aims to bring together people who are working with these ideas in the fields of art, design, architecture and theory in order to re-open discussion around this discourse, looking at how it has informed cultural, social and political life, in the past and present.

I expected to see Professor Roy Ascott mentioned at some point in the documentation of this event however surprisingly no but it has introduced me to artist Stephen Willats and his recently republished essay The Artist as an Instigator of Changes in Social Cognition and Behaviour (image below from publication). More on this at a later date as I need to get hold of a copy and compare it to another text I’m reading.


There is a good review on the Furtherfield site summing up the event.

Posted by: Garrett @ 11:32 pm
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