Special issue on Cybernetics in Latin America: Contexts Developments, Perceptions and Impacts

This special issue arises from ongoing research on cybernetics thought, produced in Latin America over the last decades. This issue explores the organizational theories and components that arise since the 60’s in Latin America and the consequent introduction of the ideas of computation, information systems and autonomous systems within the cybernetics of second order. This issue will focus on the production of approaches and knowledge, also map the diverse approaches followed from this multiples disciplines and how these approaches sustain or reject these ideas of cybernetics. 
     In 1943, Arturo Rosenblueth, along with Norbert Wiener, authored a seminal article on the theory of cybernetics: “Behavior, Purpose and Teleology". In 1972 Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela introduced the concept of Autopoiesis to define the self-organising nature of living cells, a concept that was then also applied to the fields of cognition, systems theory and sociology. Around the same years –during the presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile– the Project Cybersyn, conceived by British operations research scientist Stafford Beer proposed a wide decision support system for the management of the national economy. Other research groups such as the Argentinian collective, The Group of Thirteen, and individuals such as the Peruvian artist, Teresa Burga, explored cybernetics within an artistic and cultural milieu during the 70’s. The CAyC (Center of Art and Communication) in Buenos Aires also organized two pioneering exhibitions: "Systems Art" (1969) and "Art and Cybernetics" ( 1971) that was followed with the exhibition: “Art System in Latin America” (1974) produced  at the Contemporary Art Institute London curated by Jorge Glusberg.

Special issue themes

The special issue aims to discuss different practices, medias or systems that are based in Cybernetics in Latin America  and how the socio-cultural and political contexts in different countries help to produce new frameworks in biology (Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela), new computational models (Ricardo Uribe),  administration systems (Germán Bula, Raúl Espejo), curatorial projects (Jorge Glusberg), architectures works (Max Bense) or new humanoids (Eduardo Bayro-Corrochano).
     By contrasting “first world countries” with “third world countries” this special issue wants to explore how user or spectator-controlled systems bring out socio-cognitive and organizational effects. Second, we aim to know of how different disciplines and contexts facilitated the notion of cybernetics and what were implications for the design and engineering of administrator systems, art-design architectural projects or scientific theories.  Third, we ask what, if anything, is gained from the concept of cybernetics in Latin America, and how now a days, artists, scientists giving a human perspective to these concepts?, how spectator or user-controlled devices impact on individuals, organisations and social situations? and what changes could be identified between these projects and the ones that were done during the twenty century.
     This special issue would focus on cultural issues which influence the self-maintenance of systems, and how these living autonomy machines change, modify or not cultural aspects.
     Some cases like Cybersin, Protobio or Virus Detection, are locally generated paradigm changes, this call prioritizes for this type of cases, more than the diffusion of particular cases.
     We focus on the following questions:

  1. What were the contexts (political, social, cultural, economic) that served as impulses to develop cybernetics within Latin America ?
  2. Cases of studies which introduced the notion of second order cybernetics within different disciplines or contexts in Latin America.
  3. What is the current research in Latin America around cybernetics and what meaningful impact it has in the region.

Contribution types

We welcome contributions across two formats:

  • Original Papers: Contributions may be experimental, based on case studies, or conceptual discussions of how Latin American cybernetic affect  organisations, society and human agency.  To connect up with issues of experience, work and society, contributors are expected to view in autonomous systems the impact on cognitive dimensions or observable effects on culture, practices and human life as well as mentality. All papers are double blind peer-reviewed by two referees and the editorial team.
  • Open Forum contributions: May come from graduate students, researchers, practitioners and others interested in the topics of the special issue. Contributions might be, but not limited to, discussion papers, literature reviews, case studies, working papers, features, and articles on emerging research. Papers published in the open forum target a broad audience i.e. academics, designers as well as the average reader. Open Forum contributions will be double blind peer-reviewed by one reviewer and the editorial team.

Special issue Guest Editors

David Maulen de los Reyes,  Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile, dmaulen@utem.cl
Ignacio Nieto, Faculty of Art, Finis Terrae University, Santiago, Chile, ignacio.nieto@ug.uchile.cl

Important dates
Abstract submission:         27th April 2020
Manuscript submission:    30th September 2020
Notifications:                    20th October 2020
Submission final version: 31st March 2021

Submission information
Contributors are asked to submit a paper between 10 and 20 pages in the AI & Society’s manuscript format. You can find more information about formatting under the section "Submission guidelines/Instructions for Authors" http://www.springer.com/computer/ai/journal/146.
For inquiries and to submit your abstract and manuscript, please contact:  ignacio.nieto@ug.uchile.cl