Australian Cybernetic: a point through time assembled a story about futures, and about how we dream up the blueprints that shape us and that propel us into ways of thinking and being.

Between 22 November and 7 December 2022, ANU School of Cybernetics presented a public exhibition called Australian Cybernetic: A point through time. The exhibition followed a thread through time from the ground-breaking 1968 exhibition in London called Cybernetic Serendipity, to the Computers and Electronics in the Arts program featured in the Canberra-based Australia ‘75: Festival of Creative Arts and Science, through to contemporary pieces created by the ANU School of Cybernetics community in 2022.

These three moments – in 1968, 1975 and 2022 – represent points of expanding the cybernetic imagination, moments when audiences have been invited to consider a future through and with machines that can sense and act in the world.

Australian Cybernetic was imagined by Genevieve Bell and Andrew Meares, led by the curatorial team of Andrew Meares, Caroline Pegram and Amy McLennan, and supported by the School of Cybernetics. It included over 100 Australian and international works of creativity and technology from the early 1960s to today.

On display were some of the first examples of computer graphics and animations, early electronic music, and responsive artworks. The exhibition resurfaced Australia’s links to cybernetic thinking and practice, highlighting the names and works of some of the Australians who collaborated in communities of engineers and artists around Australia ‘75.

The exhibition also engaged with key people who helped expand the future in 1968 and 1975, and we are grateful for their contributions and energy as they continue to inspire us today. In particular, we wish to express our gratitude to curators Jasia Reichardt (Cybernetic Serendipity, 1968) and Doug Richardson (Computers and Electronics in the Arts, 1975), and to Australian historian of the electronic arts Stephen Jones. We also owe thanks to many other people and organisations for helping to imagine and create this point in time - see our full list of acknowledgements here.

Australian Cybernetic was a key feature of the official opening of the ANU School of Cybernetics, and was staged alongside a vibrant array of events. Read the official events program here.

Behind the scenes of the setup and installation of works for the exhibition.

Read more about the installation process on our blog.

You are on Aboriginal land.

The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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