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The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization$
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Jasper Bernes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796415

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796415.001.0001

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The Poetry of Feedback

The Poetry of Feedback

(p.84) 3 The Poetry of Feedback
The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization

Jasper Bernes

Stanford University Press

Emerging from the military-industrial research programs of World War II, cybernetics presents an image of social self-regulation based on reciprocal, horizontal, and participatory relations rather than explicit hierarchies. This is appealing both to firms looking for a way to cut administrative bloat and trim costs and to artists and writers interested in developing a “participatory” practice, one that undoes the division of labor between reader and writer, spectator and art maker. Cybernetics promises a mode of collaboration and collectivity that liberates art from the narrow confines of artists. This chapter examines Hannah Weiner’s Code Poems alongside Dan Graham’s Works for Magazine Pages, both of which sit at the interstices of experimental poetry and conceptual art and both of which put cybernetic discourse to work to model alternative social relations. In each case, the laboratory of social relations takes postwar labor as its subject.

Keywords:   poetry, feedback, cybernetics, Hannah Weiner, Dan Graham, information, entropy, performance artists

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