Initial statement‏

[CYB-COALITION] Initial statement‏ from: Goncalo Furtado

1) How I found cybernetics? I found cybernetics during my graduation in architecture; i.e. about a decade ago. At the time, I was uncomfortable with the excess of formalism and determinism at school. (I was interested on non-top-down and adaptable design; the post-war epistemological shifts; the challenges brought by poststructuralist’ postmodernisms; and the impacts of the so-call Informational Society.) It leaded me to embrace cybernetics themes, and it expanded the framework of my research. (Out of curiosity, I remember to be dissuaded by older colleagues, who saw me as a promising theorist losing his time with a death discipline). I got a special interest on the work and career of second-order cyberneticist Gordon Pask - a humanistwho acted as consultant to (among others) Cedric Price - the maverick of British architecture. Then I spent some years doing archival research, including exhaustive research at professor G’s personal archive (held by his daughter at the time). It ended in my PhD, and following presentations. (In short, the thesis provided a history of exchanges between architecture and the fields of cybernetics, systems research and computation. In particular, it focused on the achievements and encounters of Gordon Pask, Price and Frazer. In short, the first part of the thesis was dedicated to early developments in Cybernetics and architecture, including Pask’s career and the rise of C2; the second part focused the rise of a project called Generator; and the third one focused on later achievements of Pask and others up to his death in 1996. In highlight their role in envisiong an evolving environment.).

2) What cybernetics means to me:

I see cybernetics et alts as a elegant, trans-disciplinary and evolving system of thought; It could be addressed to diverse subjects, have application to both thought and action; and possess epistemological and practical implications.

I think it informs (as other stuff) my everyday life and my work as a designer, theorist and teacher. (And I imagine that my researching experience on Pask - i.e. the years that I spent literally immersed in his world and archive - was influential and inspirational in the formulation of my cybernetics.) In what relates to design and alike, I consider that C potentially offers valuable insights to the field, specially when it deals with complexity, change, unpredictibility etc.)

3) Description of my cybernetics:

Notes: The centre and significance of cybernetics resides in its explicit valuing of a powerful set of ideas (such as feed-back, complexity, circularity, organization, interactivity, cooperation, variability, emergence, and ultimately change etc); and in its simultaneous pursue of harmonious (dynamic) coherences.

On one hand, I suspect that cybernetics will not benefit nowadays from any strict and frozen definition (for that reason I considered the “my cybernetics” exercise adequate and interesting). On the other hand, I think one should suspect about any definition oriented towards meta-solutions, worldviews and/or processual absolutes. (To a certain extent, what cybernetics enables is a prioritizing of difference and an awareness about our individual responsibility.) The value I ascribe to C2 is that it enables to understand the world, life, knowledge, and creation, as a flux-process of circularities, in which participation, self-reference and emergence plays an important role. However, one might remain ambivalent of the benefit brought by strict demarcations between C1, C2, C etc, if they emphasize incompatibilities.

Gonçalo Furtado

No comments: