Critical Writing Index

Contemporary Art and Cybernetics: Waves of Cybernetic Discourse within Conceptual, Video and New Media Art

by Etan J. Ilfeld

Leonardo, 2012, v. 45, no. 1, pp. 57-63

This paper aims to highlight the interplay of technology and cybernetics within conceptual art. Just as Lucy Lippard has illustrated the influence of information theory within 1960s conceptual art, this paper traces the technological discourses within conceptual art through to contemporary digital art-specifically, establishing a correlation between Katherine Hayles's mapping of first-, second-and third wave cybernetic narratives and, respectively, 1960s-1970s conceptual art, 1970s-1990s video art and new media art. Technology is shown to have a major influence on conceptual art, but one often based on historical, social and cybernetic narratives. This paper echoes Krzystof Ziarek's call for a Heideggerian poiesis and Adorno/Blanchotnian "nonpower" within conceptual art and advocates Ziarek's notion of "powerfree" artistic practices within new media and transgenic art.

ITEM 2012.020 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Information: No Theory (1969)Christine Kozlov

TV CrossNam June Paik

TV-BuddhaNam June Paik

Live/Taped Video CorridorBruce Nauman

Self Portrait Made with Chuck Close FilterScott Blake

Vuk Cosic

Blackness for Sale(2001)Keith Obadike

Michael Daines

My GhostJeremy Wood

aLifeJohn F. Simon

Genesis(1999)Eduardo Kac

Sculpting No.1Arakawa

4'33"John Cage

Peter Kennedy

FountainMarcel Duchamp

Sol LeWitt