Reading Notes – Count to 3

P2. If the inner system is properly designed, it will be adapted to the outer environment, so that its behavior will be determined in large part by the latter, exactly as in the case of ‘economic man.’

P3. The challenge was to use feedback loops to adjust this ever-changing inner system to the complex rhythms of large-scale industrial production and distribution, which themselves were being sketched out in increasing detail by control engineers such as Jay Wright Forrester, in his 1961 book Industrial Dynamics.

P3. Yet in the postwar era there was just one problem. It was never clear whether learning meant transforming yourself, or just doing what you were told – like a sensor-effector acting out the thoughts of a vast machine.

P4. The demand for recognition of one’s own difference over and against all mechanisms of standardization, coercion and control, was characteristic of anarchist tendencies from 1968 onward.

Image result for negative feedback diagramImage result for negative feedback with external

P5. At stake was a process of reciprocal modeling, where each one attempts to understand and express what the other appears to be doing, in full awareness that every model is tentative and may have as much to say about the observer as it does about the observed. The recognition of a boundary is then doubled by a kind of vulnerability to the speculative constructs of both the other and the self.

Radical Software Journal, Paul Ryan,  Faculty of the Media Studies Program at the New School University in New York

“If you are editing some of your tape along with tape somebody else shot and he is doing the same thing using some of your tape then it is possible to see how one’s perceptions relate to another’s intentions and vice versa.” In short, if you act on expressive material, then you will see the possibility of a new, trans-subjective form of human being. You will no longer see a controlled individual. You will see a complex and resistant multiplicity. “

P6. It’s more audacious and more useful to accept the inter cultural liberation granted by the recognition that human beings can coexist and communicate without dominating or even fully understanding each other.

Homostasis vs. uncertainty

P7. Gordon Pask once wrote, “the automaton which found a certain situation undecidable now becomes a larger, more complex automaton which can comprehend ”23 a larger world in which the situation may not be undecidable. The moment of expansion, integrating a new parameter that fundamentally changes the old mode of operation, came to be understood not as a crisis in which a sovereign decision must be made, but instead as a quasi-natural “phase change” in a complex system, to use the language of complexity theory developed by Ilya Prigogine.

P8. Unprecedented cultural complexity, stimulated in particular by networked communications where the continuous differentiation of the self in contact with the other abolishes neither autonomy, nor solidarity.

“If you want to see, learn how to act,” Von Foerster.

The Electronic Revolution (1970), William Burroughs

what becomes possible is “an encounter, an intimate presence, between the subject of the pronouncement and those who relate to the pronouncement itself.”



The video is available at The exhibition is documented in Anselm Franke, Stephanie Hankey, Marek TuszyJnski, eds., Nervous Systems (Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2015).

The quote is from Letitia Long, “Activity Based Intelligence: Understanding the Unknown,” The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence, 20/2, Fall/Winter 2013, p. 7. The phrase “patterns of life” appears on the following page.

The first installment of Melanie Gilligan’s The Common Sense can be seen at Also see my conversation with the artist at HKW on April 15, 2016, at

Bruno Latour, “Facing Gaia,” Gifford Lectures 2013, available at , or in transcription at

33 Erich Hörl, “A Thousand Ecologies: The Process of Cyberneticization and General Ecology,” in Diedrich Diederichsen and Anselm Franke, eds., The Whole Earth: California and te Disappearance of the Outside  (Berlin: HKW/Sternberg Press, 2013), pp. 121-130.

Luciana Parisi, “Technoecologies of Sensation,” in Bernd Herzogenrath, ed., Deleuze/Guattari & Ecology (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 182-199.












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