Friday, November 2, 2012

[Yasmin_discussions] Cibernética / Latin America

Dear Yasminers,

the following posting was received from Esteban Garcia

- apologies for cross-posting

Dear members of Yasmin,

I am Esteban García an artist and PhD candidate in Computer Graphics
Technology at Purdue University. I presented at ISEA 2012 a workshop on web
radio called ?Radio Chigüiro? and collaborated with Andrés Burbano in the
panel ?Code Talkers.? I also attended to the exciting panel in Cybernetics
and here are my notes:

Latin America and Cybernetics at ISEA 2012

This panel focused in past and current Latin American approaches to
cybernetics. Researchers in Artists, Neurologists, Politicians and
Mathematicians have explored cybernetics, "the scientific study of control
and communication in the animal and the machine."[1] Some of the approaches
included transposing different disciplines to create within a new field of

Susana Quintanilla presented on an early case of the Latin American
influence in the development of a conceptual model for cybernetics. It
started with the communication of Neuroscientists Norman Weiner and Arturo
Rosenblueth, starting in the 1930?s and continuing throughout their lives.
Rosenblueth was a scholar born in México who in the 1930 was awarded an
scholarship in the department of Physiology of Harvard Univeristy. During
his lifetime, he co-wrote articles with Weiner including ?Behavior, Purpose
and Teleology? in 1943, a seminal article that redefined the theory of
cybernetics. Rosenblueth?s return to Mexico as a Professor in the
Physiology department of UNAM didn?t stop him and Wiener to continue to
collaborate. They were able to maintain correspondence and co-author
research in the new science of cybernetics.

Pablo Colapinto?s presentation regarded to ?Grupo de los 13,? an
Argentinian-based group of artists who in the 1970?s explored cybernetics.
The work of Luis Fernando Benedit was highlighted. His work explored the
development of autonomous systems. Benedit?s ?Biotron? was installed in the
1970 Venice Biennale, displaying an enclosed environment for bees:


*Biotron, an aluminum and plexiglas construction which housed 4,000 bees,
shown at the 1970 Venice Biennale. The insects had the choice of feeding
from artificial flowers which dripped sugar at the direction of a computer,
or from actual flowers in a nearby garden. The bees preferred the
artificial solution.* [2]

Pablo, can talk a little more about Benedit?s work? It was a very
interesting presentation.

Eden Medina?s presentation was called ?Cybernetics and Political Change in
Chile. Medina focused in the particular case of project Cybersyn, an
experiment in cybernetic socialism during Salvador Allende?s government
from 1970 to 1973. The presentation was based on Medina?s book entitled
?Cybernetic Revolutionaries? from MIT Press (2011) [3]. Cybersyn overlapped
science and politics aimed to be a socialist approach to technological

In 1971, Fernando Flores wrote to Stafford Beer about starting a
challenging project to be implemented across the whole country. In a note
by Medina:


*The person in charge of the technical aspects of the nationalization
effort had learned about cybernetics in college, especially a vein of
cybernetic thought known as management cybernetics that was in development
by an Englishman named Stafford Beer.*

A team that included Beer, aimed to create a National network for data
processing using one mainframe computer. The goal was to achieve an
auto-regulated society. One of the highlighted examples, was a sketch of
Project Cyberfolk, by Beer. Cyberfolk was a prototype of a system that
could be installed in people?s Television to give the government real-time
feedback about society. One of the notes on the bottom represented a dial
with a meter to measure the overall levels of happiness of the population.
Medina explained that ?Cybersyn illustrates how political innovation can
lead to technological innovation.*?*

Unfortunately, I couldn?t be in Eduardo Bayro?s presentation. Did anybody
get to see it? Maybe Alejandro?

I tried my best to recollect from my notes, also I would like to thank Eden
for sending me her notes about her presentation.

Talk to all you soon,

Esteban García
art & research


[1] Wiener, Norbert (1948). Cybernetics, or Communication and Control in
the Animal and the Machine. Cambridge: MIT Press.



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