Complex installations: sharing consciousness in a cybernetic ballet | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


Since Norbert Wiener presented a new research field called the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine, the biological and the artificial universes are each time more integrated as pieces of a game that involves science, philosophy, technology, arts, architecture and several other fields. It is astonishing to take a look at an imaginary non-linear timeline where it is possible to see the ancient Ars Mnemonica inspiring the Leibniz combinatoria and how all these virtual knowledge structures inspired the development of a communication and control machine called the computer. A machine that is quite an exploded black box artificial systems integrated into biological systems in a cybernetic structure through which most diverse kinds of information flows. We are living in times in which the logic of this machine becomes the core of our post-biological era in its essence, the era in which the biological and artificial realms are immersed in one another. An era in which we see [] humans in fact integrating with the fiction of their imagination as conjured up digitally by the computer, and in which the digital arts emanating from the cosmology of number are also a link between digital finality and infinity imagination, defending man in his impossibility to be simulated (Weibel 1999: 222). Considering this panorama in the contemporary artistic context, it could be stimulating to think about interactive digital art installations as systems in which the elements are both organic and artificial, both physical and virtual, interconnected like they were performing a cybernetic ballet. The aim of the present research is to study this choreography using the complex sciences framework. Following this objective, a series of parameters based on systemic measures of organization and complexity were structured. Our intention is, obviously, not to say that the work of art is more or less systemic, more or less complex or organized, but to help in understanding and to conceive the installation as a system: a complex adaptive system (CAS).


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