Abstract- Margareta Tillberg

Cybernetics and Arts: The Soviet Group Dvizhenie 1964-1972

Dvizhenie (Movement) 1964–1972 was the first art group in the Soviet Union that worked with cybernetics. In addition to practicing artists, the group cooperated with actors, musicians, chemists, engineers in radio-electronic and light-technology, psychologists, architects, physicists, poets and performing dancers. The text accompanying their exhibition at the Palace of Culture of the Kurchatov Institute for Nuclear Research stressed the necessity of contiguity between art and science. In future cooperation between art and technology, “art is not to be limited to ornamentation, but to be inculcated in the production processes”. The notion of the participation in the “intensive rhythm of life” as one important task – is reminiscent of a slogan from the 1920s.
The cybernetic art of Dvizhenie has the form of kinetic light-colour-sound environments with “life-transforming” content. In 1967 their Cyberevents was shown in the engineering block of the Peter and Paul fortress in Leningrad, followed by Little Eagle, a cybernetics pioneer game-amusement camp in Odessa, and Cybertheater. The Artificial Bio-Kinetic Environment from 1969, was a utopian virtual reality project presenting a future city of 35-40 million people. Paradoxically enough, Dvizhenie’s members were able to move in the circles both of the extremely official (propaganda produced for international trade shows, military and space research, design for control rooms at airports and big industries) and the in-official (free jazz, long hair, drugs, existentialism and Hemingway) - that the people interested in cybernetics, new technology, design, art, bionic-architecture and future urbanism and city planning frequented.
Dvizhenie was the first group in the Soviet Union that succeeded to produce big exhibitions “without content” from the point of view of Socialist Realism ideology. How did they manage? This paper will give a historical context for the visual traces and present concrete strategies to realize them.