[-empyre-] incompatible research practices - week 03 - feedback & control // language & curating

Lasse Scherffig lscherff at khm.de
Tue Feb 21 02:12:03 EST 2012

Thank you Gabriel and empyre for inviting me.

I will briefly motivate my research to provide some possible starting 
points for discussions. It in itself already seems "a wide range of 
topics" to me, but I hope there is enough compatibility to break it down 
to a few lines.

Pursuing a master's degree in digital media (read: computer science) in 
Bremen, I once went into the library to fetch some old (1980s?) book. I 
was astonished to see that it wasn't marked as INF (informatics) but 
KYB. Studying cognitive science and computer science, I hadn't heard 
much about Cybernetics apart from it being some hype before there was 
artificial intelligence. I became interested but I had to work at ZKM 
for some time and be confronted with closed circuit art and the like 
before Cybernetics became the center of my research. Of course, this 
science in the meantime had its own hype in media art and theory (in 
which it never was as forgotten as it is(?) in the sciences).

Being part of the KHM PhD program, I currently write a theory thesis 
(which is -- speaking of in/compatibilities -- what the KHM demands: 
there is no practice in its PhDs) that tries to read Human-Computer 
Interaction against Cybernetics. After tracing the (mostly 
non-Wienerian) pre-history of the latter and the departure of the former 
from it (which both are connected to the emergence of interactive 
computing with Feedback Machines), I use Cybernetics to argue that 
interfaces are "enacted" through use as much as they are the designed a 
priori of interaction. The question holding it together might be: How 
can moving a "mouse" on a table and pressing a finger onto that mouse 
while watching apparent motion on a computer screen be experienced as 
one integrated action: clicking on something? And since this something 
has intriguingly been described as algorithmic sign by Frieder Nake, 
semiotics play a (albeit small) role in it as well (and at least here 
the question of language comes into play).

With Paidia Laboratory: feedback (that has been part of transmediale) 
and my friends of Paidia Institute, we recently have taken this research 
into art practice; using a type of "archeology" that is interested in 
contemporary dispositves (by setting up regular computer games as 
self-playing control circuits in this case).


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