Talk: Wendy Wheeler

Talk: On nature and culture

Wendy Wheeler in conversation with Nick Hackworth

 

Wendy Wheeler is a groundbreaking cultural biosemiotician whose influential writings have posited new ways of thinking about the relationship between nature and culture. In this conversation with Modern Forms' Nick Hackworth - the first in a series of talks organised in collaboration with ArtReview - she provides an introduction to complexity and emergence, two terms deriving from systems theory now gaining a wider currency in contemporary art and culture. 

 

Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Cultural Inquiry at London Metropolitan University, Wheeler's most recent book Expecting the Earth: Life, Culture, Biosemiotics (2016), formulates a history and theory of biosemiotic and proto-biosemiotic thinking in order to open up new possibilities of contemporary social, philosophical, aesthetic and technological engagement. 

 

 

Further Reading

 

Histories of Complexity & Emergence Theories 

 

The Genesis of Complexity - Ralph H. Abraham, 

A concise history of the development of complexity theory by Mathematics Professor, Ralph H. Abraham.

http://www.gaianxaos.com/pdf/abraham/abraham-genesis_of_complexity.pdf

 

The origin of the modern concept of emergence - Maunel DeLanda

The Introduction to DeLanda's recent book Philosophy and Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason, Bloomsbury, 2015 provides a clear history of the theories of emergence from the 19th century to the present day.

https://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/manuel-delanda-emergence/

 

 

The Macy Conferences on Cybernetics

 

Between 1946 to 1953 the seminal Macy Conferences on Cybernetics (part of the wider program of Macy Conferences) investigated a cluster of scientific ideas that emerged from the war years and were to prove foundational to post-war Modernity; cybernetics, information theory and computer theory. 

 

Wikipedia - General overview:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy_conferences#Cybernetics_Conferences

 

American Society for Cybernetics: Detailed information on the various conferences:

http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/history/MacySummary.htm

 

The Cybernetics Group - Steve Joshua Heims

Heims' book details the development of the seminal Macy Conferences on Cybernetics 

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cybernetics-group

 

 

Further resources

 

Complexity Labs - Online content on Complex Systems 

http://complexitylabs.io/multimedia/