Cybernetic Serendipity Exhibition poster, Institute of Contemporary Art, 2 August – 20 October, 1968 © Cybernetic Serendipity

Cybernetic Serendipity: A Documentation

14 Oct 201430 Nov 2014

Fox Reading Room

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‘Where in London could you take a hippy, a computer programmer, a ten-year-old schoolboy and guarantee that each would be perfectly happy for an hour without you having to lift a finger to entertain them?’ 2 August 1968, Evening Standard

Cybernetic Serendipity, the landmark exhibition curated by Jasia Reichardt in 1968, is being celebrated in the Fox Reading Room with a display of documents, installation photographs, press reviews, invitation cards and publications.  

Attracting the attention of the national and international press at the time, Cybernetic Serendipity was the first international exhibition in the UK devoted to the relationship between the arts and new technology. This groundbreaking exhibition, designed by Franciszka Themerson, presented the work of over 130 participants including composers, engineers, artists, mathematicians and poets. The exhibition ran from 2 August - 20 October 1968 and was seen by some 60,000 visitors.

Its aim was to present an area of activity which manifested artists' involvement with science, and scientists' involvement with the arts; in particular to show the links between the random systems employed by artists, composers and poets, and those involved with the making and the use of cybernetic devices. Cybernetic Serendipity dealt with possibilities rather than achievements, especially since in 1968 computers had not yet revolutionised music, art, or poetry, in the same way that they had revolutionised science. Nearly 50 years later, at a time when our relationship with computers permeates every aspect of visual culture, this exhibition offers documentation of Cybernetic Serendipity to highlight its impact and continued relevance today. The ICA continues to explore the relationship between art and technology through the events programme.

Curated by Jasia Reichardt

For more information visit this unofficial archive organised by artist Yuri Pattison.

The Fox Reading Room was made possible by the generous support of the Edwin Fox Foundation.

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