The Art of Systems and the Systems of Art: Theories and Practices
Venue:Stockholm School of Economics, Soros Audium
This communication aims to draw attention to the notion of “system”, in the scope of contemporary art history, as a tool not only for integrating new practices (namely of a technological nature), but also as a way to widen the possibilities for historiographical analysis. Starting with a reflection on the art of the sixties, we will address the notion of the dematerialisation of the work of art, brought on by Lucy Lippard, with the concept of systems aesthetics, advanced by the art critic and historian Jack Burnham, reflecting a transition from an industrial object mediated culture to a post-industrial systems culture. Some works of the pioneer exhibitions Cybernetic Serendipity (1968) and The Machine As Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age (1968), will be complemented by a reflection, on the same theme, in the more recent approach of Open Systems: Rethinking Art c.1970 (2005), and the international symposium Systems Art (2007). Also cybernetics and the theory of information will be approached, though summarily, not only as agents of a new curriculum related to “systems science” (computer related), but also on the influence they had in the development in the sixties of the General Theory of Systems (Bertalanffy), or in the nineties in the thinking of sociologist Niklas Luhmann (Art as a Social System). With this multidisciplinary pathway I aim to create means of analysis for the inclusion of art processes and practices which, due to their nature, have not had their due acceptance in the traditional discourse of contemporary art history.
José Oliveira is a lecturer in Photography and Visual Culture at IADE (Instituto de Artes Visuais e Marketing) in Lisbon, and holds a Master degree in Contemporary Art History and a degree in Electronic Engineering.
Currently he is a PhD student at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Contemporary Art History) with a focus research in art relationship with science and technology in the second half of the XX century.