'All systems go!' Flux + Cybernetics = Art Machines



Publication Details

Ballard, S. "'All systems go!' Flux + Cybernetics = Art Machines." NJP Reader - Cyberneticus 3 (2012): 76-87.

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NJP Reader - Cyberneticus

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The third issue of consists of three sections, namely, [Research Papers], [On the Spot] and [Video Archives]. The first section [Research Papers] includes the papers by William Kaizen, Su Ballard, Moonryul Jung and Chanwoong Lee, who participated in the international symposium 'Gift of Nam June Paik 5: Man-Machine Duet for Life,' and the papers by the curators Seongeun Kim and SohyunAhn, who organized and coordinated the symposium.


Imagine admiring a caged bird and it suddenly squawking, "All systems go! All systems go!" It would be quite a moment. In 1971 artist Hans Haacke named a caged mynah bird after the founder of cybernetics Norbert Wiener. 'Norbert' the bird was trained to speak the catch phrase of the late 1960s: "All systems go!" But all did not go to plan; Haacke's exhibition at the Guggenheim was cancelled and the bird remained mute in the studio. Despite its failure to be realised the work lives on as an evocative example of art's engagement with real-life and real-time systems. At the same time that Haacke was creating numerous works exploring the broad contexts of systems, including polling systems and critical environmental systems, Jack Burnham (a curator and good friend of Haacke's) was connecting systems thinking directly with art practice. Artists including Haacke, La Monte Young, John Cage and Nam June Paik were looking for ways to open up the properties of the art object to relationships of time, control, biology and communication.


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