Events by Day

Cybernetics: Between Arts and Wars
16 October 2019

On October 16, 2019, at 6.30 pm, we invite you to the discussion "Cybernetics: Between Arts and Wars" inspired by the publication of research projects by Janina Prudenko and Svitlana Matviyenko.

What do we know today about the "cyberwars" and "cyber art"? How remote in time and space are these concepts from the present-day Lviv? 

During our conversation, we shall try to identify the history of Soviet digital humanities, a concept of “other aesthetics,” and cyber art in the Soviet Union. Janina Prudenko will introduce a notion of why Soviet cybernetics failed, who its creators were, and what its role was within the cultural landscape? The research offers a broader definition of the phenomenon of big data or computer art through the context of Soviet cybernetics.

We will also talk about how geopolitical changes led to the militarization of the Internet and propelling wars in digital networks. Svitlana Matviyenko will introduce the notion of cyberwar as she and Nick Dyer-Witheford developed it in their book. The talk will be about the re-conceptualization of the “cyberwar” and “cyberwar subject” by illustrating this notion with some examples of who such subject is being exploited.

What parallels or links can be traced in the seemingly different contexts such as waging cyberwar on the Internet and the making of Soviet cyber art? Can we separate closely entangled politics, art, and technologies?

Cybernetics becomes an expression of otherness – of other aesthetics in art, and of other way to run the war. At the same time, cybernetics and computer technologies are the signs of phenomena that have always been happening to us, such as an interaction between humans and technologies. In this talk about cybernetics it is not only about the computing capacity or the automated big data analysis, but also about the continuity of interaction practices between humans and technology. We invite you to take a look on global dimension of humanities and technologies from the two perspectives, less visible but still relevant for Lviv.

Working language - Ukrainian

Janina Prudenko, a Candidate of Philosophy, an associate professor at the Department of the History of Art at the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, curator of the Open Archive of Ukrainian Media Art, Author of "Cybernetics in Humanities and Arts in the USSR" (M., 2019). In addition to curator and research activities, she acted as an artist and exhibited her media art projects in Ukraine and other countries in Europe. Today, she tackles a research topic “Ukrainian Musical Lights” on synesthetic artistic and engineering experiments in Soviet Ukraine.

Svitlana Matviyenko is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Analysis in the School of Communication of Simon Fraser University. Her research and teaching are focused on political economy of information, digital militarism, social and mobile media, infrastructure studies, history of science, cybernetics and psychoanalysis. She writes about the networking drive and user complicity; practices of resistance and mobilization; legacies of the Soviet techno-politics, including the Chernobyl catastrophe; information and cyberwar. Her publications include two co-edited collections, with Paul D. Miller, The Imaginary App (MIT, 2014)  and, with Judith Roof, Lacan and the Posthuman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). With Nick Dyer-Witheford, she is a co-author of Cyberwar and Revolution (Minnesota UP, 2019).