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Guangdong Times Museum presents Cybernetics for the 21st Century lectures and symposia

January 10–11, 2023

Guangdong Times Museum presents Cybernetics for the 21st Century lectures and symposia at January 10–11, 2023.

January 10, 8-10pm (GMT+8) 
Locality and epistemology: Andrew Pickering,  Slava Gerovitch, David Maulén de los Reyes, Michal Krzykawski, Yuk Hui 

January 11, 9–11pm (GMT+8) 
Politics and artificial life: Katherine Hayles, Brunella Antomarini, Mathieu Triclot, Daisuke Harashima, Yuk Hui

Host:  Media Lab of Guangdong Times Museum, Research Network for Philosophy and Technology

Co-Organizer: Hanart Forum

All the lectures with both English and Chinese subtitles could be found online and the Symposia will be livestreamed with simultaneous translation. The registration for symposia will open on the media lab website in January 2023.

Cybernetics is not only an ephemeral and contingent event in intellectual history, but rather it meant firstly to be a new science of machines, which breaks away from the mechanism of the 17th century, that is why Norbert Wiener in his 1948 Cybernetics: or the Control and Communication in Machine and Animals could claim that cybernetic machines overcome the dichotomy between the biological Bergsonian time and the mechanical Newtonian time; secondly, a universal discipline, it is able to unify all other scientific disciplines, and later also disciplines of the social sciences, demonstrated  by the so-called Second Order Cybernetics; thirdly the latest development of Western philosophy, which led to Martin Heidegger’s claim that cybernetics marks the end or completion of Western philosophy.

Today, cybernetics has been absorbed in practically all engineering fields, as well as art and humanities, and has delivered on its promise of becoming a universal method. The importance of cybernetics must be questioned and expanded beyond what has been defined as control and monitoring. We are living in a cybernetics age more than ever before, but we continue to fall victim to the duality of nature and culture without comprehending the significance and limits of cybernetics. Cybernetics pioneered a digital world, marking the end of nature and the beginning of ecology. We, moderns, are alcoholics who have failed to break free from the positive feedback of development, as Nietzsche depicts in Gay Science, the quest of the infinite leads to the revelation that nothing is more terrifying than the infinite. For the program of re-orientation, a new recursive epistemology in the sense of Gregory Bateson, which inherits cybernetic thinking while attempting to overcome its intoxication, is required.

This two-year public research program titled “Cybernetics for the Twenty-First Century” aims to first reconstruct the history of cybernetics from the perspectives of various geographical locations, political projects, and philosophical reflections; and second, to ask what the cybernetic movement might contribute to the new form of thinking that is urgently needed to understand and reorient our digital earth. The first edition of the program consists of eight lectures and two symposiums with the presentation of philosophers, historians of science, and sociologists, including Andrew Pickering, Katherine Hayles, Brunella Antomarini, Slava Gerovitch, David Maulén de los Reyes, Michal Krzykawski, Mathieu Triclot, Daisuke Harashima. The program is hosted by Yuk Hui and curated by Jianru Wu.