From Cybernetics and Systems in the late 1960s, to bridging art and technology today. 

*Bachelor thesis (2020) — University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, Art History.

This thesis researches an issue in the reception of exhibitions combining art and technology. Often, these exhibitions are received as being shows of mere entertainment, while the curators and the artists participating had different intentions, namely researching human-machine relations and/or social- and political implications of these technologies. To start, Jordan Wolfson’s show, MANIC / LOVE / TRUTH / LOVE (2016/2017) at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, will be used as case study to explain how the reception of art and technology has been problematic since artists first started to explore new technologies like computers and telecommunications in their artistic practice in the 1960s. This thesis addresses the resistance to an overlap in the practices of conceptual art and art-and-technology with the use of writings by Roy Ascott on his ‘Behaviourist Art’ and Jack Burnhamn’s theory of ‘Systems Esthetics’ and his curatorial work for the exhibition Software (1970). The exhibitions Tendencije 4 (1968/1969), as part of the activities of the New Tendencies in Zagreb, Croatia and Software at the Jewish Museum in New York City will be discussed. These exhibitions and publications manifested promising intentions of establishing an art practice in which conceptual ideas about technology would be expressed as art and which could not only be judged by their technological output. Even though the intentions and the ideas of Jack Burnham on systems in art did not find common ground with art critics in this period, I regard his Systems Aesthetics as promising and highly valuable to reconsider when analyzing art and technology today.