Talk: Wendy Wheeler

Talk: On nature and culture

Wendy Wheeler in conversation with Nick Hackworth


Wendy Wheeler is a groundbreaking cultural biosemiotician whose influential writings have posited new ways of thinking about the relationship between nature and culture. In this conversation with Modern Forms' Nick Hackworth - the first in a series of talks organised in collaboration with ArtReview - she provides an introduction to complexity and emergence, two terms deriving from systems theory now gaining a wider currency in contemporary art and culture. 


Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Cultural Inquiry at London Metropolitan University, Wheeler's most recent book Expecting the Earth: Life, Culture, Biosemiotics (2016), formulates a history and theory of biosemiotic and proto-biosemiotic thinking in order to open up new possibilities of contemporary social, philosophical, aesthetic and technological engagement. 



Further Reading


Histories of Complexity & Emergence Theories 


The Genesis of Complexity - Ralph H. Abraham, 

A concise history of the development of complexity theory by Mathematics Professor, Ralph H. Abraham.


The origin of the modern concept of emergence - Maunel DeLanda

The Introduction to DeLanda's recent book Philosophy and Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason, Bloomsbury, 2015 provides a clear history of the theories of emergence from the 19th century to the present day.



The Macy Conferences on Cybernetics


Between 1946 to 1953 the seminal Macy Conferences on Cybernetics (part of the wider program of Macy Conferences) investigated a cluster of scientific ideas that emerged from the war years and were to prove foundational to post-war Modernity; cybernetics, information theory and computer theory. 


Wikipedia - General overview:


American Society for Cybernetics: Detailed information on the various conferences:


The Cybernetics Group - Steve Joshua Heims

Heims' book details the development of the seminal Macy Conferences on Cybernetics



Further resources


Complexity Labs - Online content on Complex Systems