straight up
"If the cybernetic spirit constitutes the predominant attitude of the modern era, the computer is the supreme tool that its technology has produced. Used in conjunction with synthetic materials it can be expected to open up paths of radical change and invention in art."
Viewer-participants interacting with Aspects of Gaia: Digital Pathways Across the Whole Earth at Ars Electronica

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Roy Ascott | Cybernetic Vision <1966>

Since the 1960s, the British educator, artist and theoretician Roy Ascott has been one of Europe's most active and outspoken practitioners of interactive computer art. Ten years before the personal computer came into existence, Ascott saw that interactivity in computer-based forms of expression would be an emerging issue in the arts. Intrigued by the possibilities, he built a theoretical framework for approaching interactive artworks, which brought together certain characteristics of the avant-garde (Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, Happenings, and Pop Art, in particular), with the science of cybernetics championed by Norbert Wiener.

Ascott's thesis on the cybernetic vision in the arts, "Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision" from 1966, begins with the premise that interactive art must free itself from the modernist ideal of the "perfect object." Like John Cage, he proposes that the artwork be responsive to the viewer, rather than fixed and static. But Ascott takes Cage's premise into the realm of computer-based art, suggesting that the "spirit of cybernetics" offers the most effective means for achieving a two-way exchange between the artwork and its audience.