Spectres between spaces / On the history of cybernetics / Navigating through theoretical terrain by and with Bazon Brock

The Chicago Boys around E. Fermi came upon the problem of controlling processes during their attempts at effecting a controlled nuclear reaction. Remarkably, they orientated their illustration of controls to Virgil's account of the first steersman known to us - Cybernes Palinurus, who led the fleet of Aeneas from Asia Minor to southern Italy.

Virgil reports that Palinarus disappeared from the flagship shortly before the end of the trip, which no one knew when it would end. Why did Palinarus leave the ship? Vergil elaborates five hypotheses, in which one can already distinguish all the problems having to do with the roles of navigating, leading, and mediating. Since the beginnings of transatlantic and transoceanic seafaring, questions pertaining to control and navigation techniques became crucial. From the development of these techniques to modern-day cybernetics, pedagogues and priests, therapists and trainers, business consultants and brokers, art mediators and development aid workers have made extensive use of these, applying a remarkable strategy of utilising forms of failure as success.

At Portikus, Bazon Brock installs a theoretical terrain through which he will guide those seeking orientation, from January 29 to February 1. Using art historical evidence of the work of great steersmen, from Petrarch to the present day, patterns for orientation will be revealed that are the basis for our cultural behaviour, even when we believe we are acting according to our own free will, our intuition, or our creative arbitrariness.

Of special interest, however, are all those professional mediators and steersmen, who claim to know which direction to take. Why does one follow them? Who leads the leaders? How do educators educate themselves? Who saves the saviours?

Photo: Katrin Schilling