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Ontological Theatre Gordon Pask, Cybernetics, and the Arts

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This essay explores the possibility of an ontological rather than epistemological understanding of cybernetics. My argument is that cybernetics embodies a nonmodern ontology, a vision of the world as built from lively, dynamic systems in performative interaction with one another -- in contrast to the ontology of the modern sciences: an asymmetric picture of human agents linked to a passive and static world through the medium of representation. To put some flesh on this idea, I review Gordon Pask's work in the theatre, the arts and architecture. I argue that his projects function as ontological theatre in a double sense. On the one hand, they stage specific examples of a nonmodern ontology more generally; on the other, they are examples of how one might go on in the world if one espoused that ontology. This review encourages an appreciation of cybernetics as a multidimensional form of life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, England. ., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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