Cybernetics as a Way Out of this World

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Abstract

The dream of pulling the rug of technology out from under the feet of capitalism and replacing the prevailing information-surveillance complex with a cybernetics of the poor is as old as it is important. !e idea of technology as a way out of this world, as a tool toward a fairer, more just version of it, comes up again and again in left-leaning theory and practice, from Walter Benjamin’s writings on art in the age of its reproducibility (in which the new technology of cinema allows the masses to understand themselves) to Afrofuturism, and, most recently, accelerationism. This text aims to explore one of the trajectories of this idea, spanning the historical and the contemporary, and traversing from politics to art, in order to show how technology and its strong bond with humans has always played a special role in the history of the anti-racist struggle against the hegemony of whiteness in Europe and the United States. That bond and the role it plays in Black struggle will in the following text be read as a cybernetics of the poor. For this, two aspects need to be linked: the role technology can have in artistic practice, and the role technological infrastructure can play as an alternative to political infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCybernetics of the Poor
Subtitle of host publicationAn examination of the relationship between art and cybernetics and their intersections, with works that uses the powerlessness of art
EditorsDiedrich Diederichsen, Oier Etxeberria
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSternberg Press
Pages287
Number of pages299
ISBN (Print)9783956795930
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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