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Title: Interdisciplinaries Approaches to Second Order Cybernetics During the Early 70s in Chile: Artistic, Scientific and Techno/Political Experiences.
Authors: Velasco, Marcel
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2016
Series/Report no.: Pioneering Experiences in Art, Science and Technology in Latin America + Interdisciplinary Site;06.11.2015 Session 4A
Abstract: During the late 1960’s and early 70’s chilean artist Juan Downey, biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, and Allende’s Economy Minister, engineer Fernando Flores, worked under the conceptual framework of second order cybernetics. This influence informed their work in relational aesthetics (Downey), self organization and autopoiesis (Maturana/Varela), and a centralized industrial control system, Cybersyn (Flores/Stafford Beer). The appeal of cybernetics, concept derived from systems theory in the 40’s, drifted towards new­cybernetics and second order cybernetics, the cybernetics of cybernetics, in the early 70’s under H. Von Foerster work group at University of Illinois. The above mentioned produced art, science and technology beyond the reductionist paradigm, aiming to create a body of work inspired in an epistemology focused both in the artificial system (1st order) and the observing system (2nd order), spousing a worldview that included both cybernetic entities. These works followed diverging trajectories until today. While Downey shifted his attention from the cybernetic technoutopia to semiotic analysis, the work of Maturana­Varela continued to explore the nature of self­referential systems and cognition, influencing to this day fields ranging from the social sciences to the arts. The Cybersyn governmental program was truncated by the Chilean 1973 coup d’état, ending with what could have been the first information management and transfer program run at a national scale. This article shows the conceptual links and intellectual context of these multidisciplinar achievements, as an early divergence to what we currently experience as a decentralized network economy, disciplinary based sciences and the creative industries.
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