Don’t give up! Media art as an endless conversational process


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 9 August 2011



(2011), "Don’t give up! Media art as an endless conversational process", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 7/8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Don’t give up! Media art as an endless conversational process

Article Type: Special issue abstracts From: Kybernetes, Volume 40, Issue 7/8

Graziele Lautenschlaeger

LAGEAR – Graphics Laboratory for Architecture Experience, Department of Architecture and Urbanism, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and

Anja Pratschke

NOMADS USP – Center for Interactive Living Studies, Department of Architecture and Urbanism, Engineering School of São Carlos, University of São Paulo, São Carlos, Brazil


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to argue that the potential for contemporary media art production is based on the productive action itself, and that this activity supports the negotiating of understandings. This discussion is based on second-order cybernetics principles, in which the researcher’s role is considered in the observation process. It emphasizes the idea that media art is a social and aesthetic system based on conversation and autopoietic processes.

Design/methodology/approach – This argument is based upon a master’s research dissertation on contemporary media art production, conducted at the Center for Interactive Living Studies (Nomads.usp). The methodology is based on an immersion in an action-centered research process: the authors conducted a literature review, interviewed 26 people, including artists, curators and theoreticians, visited several exhibitions, media art centers, and produced an interactive installation.

Findings – Aesthetic propositions may trigger conversational processes within different perspectives. The authors see this as related to Luhmann’s writings about art as both an aesthetic and social system. Despite the utopian nature of the proposition the authors identify a second-order cybernetic relevance in their investigation.

Research limitations/implications – Limitations are related to the intrinsic specificity of the adopted methodology. It may be possible to derive general theoretical abstractions or methods from the described investigation, but this was never the authors’ intention.

Social implications – The authors suggest recognition of media art as a collective practice, discussing this complex activity at micro (individual goals) and macro (overall goals) levels.

Originality/value – This application of self-reference to our reflective art and design research practice will enhance the design of future projects.

Keywords Media art, Second order cybernetics, Autopoiesis, Conversation, Aesthetic system, Social system, Social processes

Paper type Research paper

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