Paul Brown

The Pursuit of Autonomy: Art that Makes Itself

symposium 1

The pursuit of autonomy has a long history in the visual arts and it was accelerated in the 20th century with the application of first analog then digital electronics. In 1956 Nicolas Schöffer created CYSP1 (Cybernetic – Spatiodynamic one) and in 1968 Ed Ihnatowicz made SAM (Sound Activated Mobile). Both were included in the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity in 1968 along with other pioneering works like Gordon Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles. That same year Jack Burnham’s “Beyond Modern Sculpture” was published where the author suggests that the future of sculpture would be the creation of “life simulation systems”. 


This presentation will discuss this history in the context of constructivism and then systems and conceptual art and will conclude with a discussion of the authors own work and, in particular, his recent interdisciplinary DrawBots Project.