ACSOS 2023
Mon 25 - Fri 29 September 2023 Toronto, Canada

Cybernetics theorists such as Norbert Wiener, W. Ross Ashby, and Gregory Bateson are often heralded as the “fathers” of cybernetics thanks to their technically oriented work on (respectively) feedback mechanisms, black-box models, and second-order, self-reflexive orientations to information networks. In this talk, Heather A. Love invites attendees to consider an alternative “origin story” to the cybernetic movement—one that boasts a longer and more diverse cultural history rooted in early twentieth-century literary experimentation. Drawing from analyses that appear in her new book, Cybernetic Aesthetics: Modernist Networks of Information and Data(Cambridge University Press, 2023), Love will present a case study that triangulates Gertrude Stein’s avant-garde, ethnographic writing about American culture in the 1930s, Margaret Mead’s 1968 keynote on the “Cybernetics of Cybernetics” (which she presented to the American Society of Cybernetics), and Mary Catherine Bateson’s deeply personal works of cultural anthropology from the 1990s. All three authors embrace cybernetically inflected attitudes towards scale and perspective; in doing so, Love argues, they generate insights that resonate with ongoing questions concerning the complex socio-technical systems we inhabit and the urgency of grappling with those systems’ environmental, geological, and global implications.

Thu 28 Sep

Displayed time zone: Eastern Time (US & Canada) change

09:00 - 10:30
Joint Keynote SaSSO and ASMECC (Session 1)Workshops at Convention Centre (C2)
Welcome and Introduction - SaSSO
Peter Lewis Ontario Tech University, Jeremy Pitt Imperial College London, Ada Diaconescu LTCI Lab, Telecom Paris, Institute Politechnqie de Paris
Feedback Loops, Black Boxes, and Self-Reflexivity: Tracing Cybernetics’ Cultural Lineage and Ecological Implications
Heather Love University of Waterloo