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Event: ‘Cybernetic Serendipity: Towards AI’ at ICA London, reimagining Computer Art in the present future

Text by CLOT Magazine

Although one could have the impression that art and scientific entanglements are something reasonably recent, in reality, there is a long trajectory for these artistic quests that traces back many decades. Cybernetic Serendipity was a forward-thinking computing art exhibition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in 1968. It is still considered a key reference in the field for the way it explored the relationship between computing technology and art, for its influence on many pioneers, and for introducing the subject to a wider audience.

Curated by Jasia Reichardt, the exhibition included works concerned with algorithms and devices for generating music, machines and kinetic environments, and computer-generated poetry, essays, movies and graphics. The 130 participants in the exhibition ranged from artists, engineers, composers, mathematicians, and poets. Some of the artists included Gustav Metzger, Rowland Emett, and Nam June Paik.

Now, fast-forward 56 years, the ICA London is organising Cybernetic Serendipity: Towards AI on Saturday 24 February; a full-day event that looks back on the iconic 1968 exhibition to explore the patterns, tropes, and pervasive elements of artists using emerging technologies in our current setting.

This day-long event will see Jasia Reichardt deliver a keynote lecture titled Before and After Cybernetic Serendipity. Featuring talks, performances and readings, the day will unfold in a series of propositions and panels that shift between the interrelated topics of machine creativity and AI via the realms of currency and NFTs.

Speakers and performers include Jasia Reichardt, William Latham, Christiane Paul, Sougwen Chung, Marianna Simnett, K AlladoMcDowell, Alex Estorick, Daniel Felstead, 0xSalon, Rachel O’ Dwyer, Lawrence Lek, Joey Holder, Connie Bakshi, Luba Elliott,

There will also be a presentation of archival material, a Cybernetic Serendipity vinyl listening session and ICA Editions will be available, and a specially commissioned artwork by VISIO is being produced for
the occasion.

Appearing during the breaks will be video fragments of Joey Holder‘s Cryptid with a soundscore by AJA. Cryptid is a creature which may or may not exist, unrecognised by mainstream science. Cryptid contains shifting, layered footage from laboratory cameras, AI generative images of deep sea creatures and mystical symbology, revealing the interdimensional zone these creatures occupy across popular culture and their importance to all life on earth.

This event is hosted by ICA Talks & Research curator Susanna Davies-Crook and co-curated with DAZED features editor, internet folklorist Günseli Yalcinkaya, and technology researcher, curator and writer Bronac Ferran.

More information and tickets here.

(Media courtesy of ALB)
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