Gordon Pask - Cybernetic Polymath
role of artists working with technology is slowly becoming recognized.
The impact of scientists who experiment with art is less visible even
in the histories of technological art (Popper, Davies, Lovejoy, Wilson,
Paul). According to Lev Manovich, a radical new history of modern
culture will recognize as innovators not only artists but also scientists,
game designers and DJ’s. In the spirit of this broader history
this paper will concentrate on the contributions of a scientist to
the history of digital art. Gordon Pask is acknowledged in histories
of digital culture yet he is virtually unknown the histories of art.
One reason for this omission is that Pask was an cybernetician, not
an artist. Yet, he produced cybernetic art works. He participated
in the groundbreaking exhibition, Cybernetic Serendipity, curated
by Jasia Reichardt in 1968 and appeared prominently in the exhibition
catalog and in other texts associated with that exhibition. This paper
will attempt to evaluate Pask's importance to the arts of his time,
his legacy in the field of digital art and the relevance of some of
his theoretical concerns to contemporary art practices.