The Cybernetic Hypothesis

2016-06-01 The workshop is organized by the DCRL, ICAM, MECS, and “Techno-Ecologies of Participation” (part of the DFG-project Media and Participation)

The workshop will be held on May 31st (location: Wasserturm) and June 1st, 2016, in Lüneburg (Freiraum Lüneburg).

Cybernetic Hypothesis

In order to rethink the contemporary intertwining of scientific, technological, economic and political conditions, this workshop focuses on Tiqqun’s “Cybernetic Hypothesis”. With the intention of allowing discussion to go beyond the historical event of ‘cybernetics’ between ’45 and the seventies, “general cyberneticization” (Hörl 2013) will be the workshop’s conceptual starting point. This logic is not only bound to a vocabulary consisting of ‘control’, ‘regulation’, and ‘steering’. Cybernetics, in fact, has become a contemporary mode of governmentality. Starting from this point, the workshop’s main aim is to take a closer look at the relationship of critique, politics, and technology within the logics of cyberneticization. In order to access this manifold relationship in particular, act and action are set as the key terms.

Approaching critique, the workshop will not only pay attention to the urgency implied by the term cyberneticization, act, and action etymologically and semantically. Carving out the implicit terminological and epistemological proximity of critique and crisis will also be one of the workshop’s tasks. Understanding crisis in the original sense as a crack, a cut, or a fracture, the focus will be upon crisis’ contemporary meaning in terms of a state of permanence, linked to a governmental means. Here, the status and the possibility of intervening with political action will be discussed.

Thinking beyond the assumption of a constant feedback loop which appropriates critical action, as well as a mere demand of an ‘outside’ place of cyberneticization, what needs to be addressed is both the possibility of critical acts / action in general and the specific strategies and tactics of action. So, this engages the question of how to act and take action within transversal movements of “de- and reterritorialization” between macro- and micro-structures (Deleuze/Guattari 1993), as well as the question of the ‘political difference’ (e.g. Derrida 1991; Marchart 2010)

In conclusion, the workshop seeks to crystallise the particular relationship of act and action with critique, politics, and technology. The invited speakers are Alexander Galloway, Orit Halpern, Erich Hörl, Brian Holmes, and Jason Moore. The two-day event is opened by an evening conversation “World-Ecology, General Ecology, and Cyberneticization” by Erich Hörl and Jason Moore. Day two is divided into three main panels. Each 2-hour-panel is subdivided into a 15 minute presentation, followed by a 10 minute response, as eventually the discussion. 

The workshop is organised by the DCRL, ICAM, MECS, and “Techno-Ecologies of Participation” (part of the DFG-project Media and Participation)


Tuesday, 31st of May 2016
Evening Conversation, 6pm – 8pm, at Wasserturm

“World-Ecology, General Ecology, and Cyberneticization”,
by Erich Hörl and Jason Moore

Wednesday, 1st of June 2016
Workshop, 10pm – 6.30pm, 10am – 12am at Freiraum 

Opening – Erich Hörl
Introductory Notes – Ricky Wichum

Panel 1: Critique and Crisis
Impulse: Alexander Galloway; Response: Mathias Denecke
This panel asks for the positions and the epistemologies for a critique of cybernetics. Here, different understandings of cybernetics are discussed, as well as the proximity of critique and crisis.

1.30pm – 3.30pm

Panel 2: Technology and Politics
Impulse: Orit Halpern; Response: Yuk Hui.
The second panel deals with the relationship between technology and politics. The discussion will be focused upon the turn from an almost anti-technological attitude towards the possibility of critique via the figure of the hacker (Invisible Committee 2015).

4pm – 6pm

Panel 3: Modes, Possibilities, and Conditions of Act & Action
Impulse: Brian Holmes; Response: Laura Hille.
Panel three addresses the figure of the enemy in relation to possible modes, strategies, and tactics of action.

Closing Statements 7pm

Book launch:
“On the Existence of Digital Objects” (Yuk Hui), at DCRL, Am Sande 5 Lüneburg

Since the workshop seeks to facilitate thorough discussions, reading Tiqqun’s “Cybernetic Hypothesis” (2001) is required.