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4.4 Cybernetics, systems and the arts: embodied pedagogies and the amplification of reflexive capacities

   Recent ongoing global crises, from the coronavirus pandemic to systemic racism, have only strengthened calls from the cyber-systemic community...

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   Recent ongoing global crises, from the coronavirus pandemic to systemic racism, have only strengthened calls from the cyber-systemic community for a wider uptake of its values and methods.   But can wide-spread systemic transformation take place without radical onto-epistemic shifts at the level of individual psychic systems?  The deeply felt impacts of such dimensions as history and emotion make the cyber-systemic project much more than a purely techno-rational understanding of communications and control. Is science alone up to the task of enabling humanity, as a vast network of feeling individuals who recursively construct and enact our worlds, to navigate our way to more just and sustainable futures?  This track is intended as a platform for contributions relating systems, science, cybernetics and art in light of these questions.

   Papers in this track will explore the multiple contributions that embodied, arts-based pedagogies are making to the amplification of reflexive capacities necessary to foster second-order systemic thinking and doing across the various sectors of our societies. It will build upon the advances of a small but growing global community that has promoted the “art of management’ over the past twenty-plus years through enactive pedagogies in leadership; many of which have engaged with multiple artistic media, including music, dance, paintings, and theatre.  These have led to to an enhanced variety of possible meanings and actions emerging for participant/observers in the web of their daily interactions. 

   The distinctions each of us draw as observers create the varied pictures of the world that enable and inspire our subsequent actions (and reflections). Can this ‘adimensional’ web of interactions be modelled, understood and consciously directed towards producing a “better” world (whatever that might mean to each of us) through an embodied experience with modes of artistic practice? How can this important and ground-breaking work be fruitfully extended and what other contributions might art make to the governance of ourselves and our systems in the 21st century?

Discussion points

  • Interactive artworks and performances

  • Cybernetics and design

  • “Double” and “Triple Loop” learning facilitated by artistic works and processes

  • Art and the drawing of “distinctions” (a la Maturana/Luhmann)

  • Cybernetics and Spencer Brown’s Laws of Form

  • Acting and control theory

  • Art in/and Action Research

  • Art in/and Systems Modelling

  • Art in/and Systems Therapies

  • Art and Reflexivity

  • Art and CyberSystemic education


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