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Cybernetics of the Poor

Cybernetics of the Poor

Current price: $24.95
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Sternberg Press
On Our Shelves Now


An examination of the relationship between art and cybernetics and their intersections, with works that use the powerlessness of art.

Cybernetics of the Poor examines the relationship between art and cybernetics and their intersections in the past and present. From the late 1940s on, the term cybernetics began to be used to describe self-regulating systems that measure, anticipate, and react in order to intervene in changing conditions. Initially relevant mostly in the fields of administration, planning, criminology, and early ecology, under digital capitalism cybernetics has since become an economic factor (particularly in the realm of big data). In such a cybernetic totality, art must respond to a new situation: a cybernetics of the poor.

Cybernetics of the Poor presents work that uses the powerlessness of art--its poverty--vis-à-vis the cybernetic machine to propose countermodels: work that is both recent and historical by artists who believed in cybernetics as a participatory, playful practice or were pioneers in delineating a counter-cybernetics. How much of what Thomas Pynchon termed "counterforce" exists within art when it is conceived as a cybernetics of the poor?

About the Author

Diedrich Diederichsen is a German author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is one of Germany's most renowned intellectual writers at the crossroads of the arts, politics, and pop culture. Oier Etxeberria is a Basque visual artist and musician. He is head of the Visual Arts at CICC Tabakalera.