On Cybernetic Capitalism

walk · listen · café

90 items
Be the first to favourite this.

Event details

2023-06-20 18:00
18:00 UTC
Free for supporting members!
Tickets 7.5
Café recording
Only available to registered users.


Log in to book a ticket. Not registered yet? Register first.
Lost your password?

This event has been rescheduled to Tuesday June 20.

Published for the first time, in French, in September 2001, The Cybernetic Hypothesis is not a critical text dealing with computers and cell phones, the internet and the web, social networks, the capitalism of surveillance, and the new digital  economy, nor with immaterial workers and the postindustrial society, artificial intelligence and biotechnologies, facial recognition and deep learning, robots and transhumanism, and so on.
Instead, it tries to grasp what these concepts have in common at their root, in addition to looking at what has shaped and defined the world in which we live since the Second World War, and what has been our everyday experience of it.

For this café, we welcome back Bob Parks. Bob was one of the pioneers of performance art in England in the 1960s, and on the US West Coast in the 1970s, and eventually has seen his practice evolve into a mixture of performance and walking art, subscribing to the idea that Walking Art is Performance Art on wheels, with the capacity to bring in the whole world’s population.

Recurring themes in Bob’s work have been California’s west coast scene, the death of Bob’s mother, which is central in the BBC Documentary The R&B Feeling, and the ultimate question of what art is involving into.

Today, Bob will cast his complex vision in the context of Cybernetic Capitalism, where, seemingly, the only way to override this all-encompassing contemporary everything is to panic. Yet, collaboration is where the arts are heading, meaning its application is within a societal level of cooperation. Say, like a herd of gazelles in the open savanna, rather than in an enclosed space, like in a crowded room.

The digitalisation of capitalism has facilitated a kind of brainwashing, a direction taken, particularly from the 1960s onward, then embracing this comprehensively. Bob believes that our way out from this self-imposed entrapment is not just panic, but through the Black Aesthetic, and we need to expose the criminal which lies hidden, protected, and unaccounted.

This is a process of exorcism, in a sense a need to liberate us from what we have become. Once this bubble is burst, we can return to the question of the duality between reality and actuality, and uncontaminated consciousness. But first we must identify the villain, the shape of capitalism as it has taken form.

Bob’s narrative departs from the artwork below, a poem on the death of his mum, who he accidentally killed in a car crash. In the work, as in Modernism, it’s viscosity comes to the fore. That is, it’s working in encaustic with complimentary colours animating the letters of the words.

If you like, this creates an experience, somewhat of being in an art exhibition where the process of looking is accompanied by an ongoing internal word dialogue in your head, connected to the interaction between that and what the pictures are dialoguing, subconsciously, yet on a verbal level.

He who perceives subconsciously and expresses subconsciously, that is genius.

Yevgeny Vakhtangov

What this leads to, is the distinction between actuality and reality where most people choose to live in the world of reality. Actuality, for Bob, is coming from Jackson Pollock’s Literalism. If Performance Art tries to break this facade in the name of Art then, if there is a link and it’s worked through, with Walking Art, it’s about the playing out of this dichotomy, or perhaps dualism.

So, Bob talks to the thoughts not the words. Which is like becoming your inner voice and at the same time coming up against other inner voices not his own. Conventional talk is just too safe, as there are too many road blocks and conventions to water things down en route.

In a sense, Fin-de-Siecle thinking and Modernism led to the First World War, and the only way out is through a people who have been persecuted and suffered over centuries. Resolution can not come from a pleasant place.
The Black Aesthetic filled the gap which opened up due to the failure of Western society to continue to lay claim to the underpinning identity of what Modernism revealed as an option. Now, as the focus shifts from the reality of the world of Perfomance Art into the actuality of Walking Art, the only societal function that can help us grasp the actuality is no longer the conceit, of Modernism, but the ‘actuality’ of the Black Aesthetic.

Bob Parks

In the 60's I developed a self abandonment from John Cage's Indeterminacy album. This involved making as much noise as would come out of my mouth while moving my body as violently as it would go. I got it up to about 14 minutes. I later identified this per...


  • Curated news

    4 winter walking routes to go on in Glasgow this season

    · 1 Jan, 2023
  • ALL BLOG POSTS - Tamsin G...

    Edinburgh Death Café

    · 24 Jun, 2023
  • Audio about walking

    The Climate – Culbin Forest & Sands by Walking Through Landscape | Free Listening on SoundCloud

    · 28 Apr, 2021
  • Curated news

    Artist who spent a year walking Fife Coastal Path named Artist in Residence – Kingdom FM

    · 27 Jul, 2023
  • Don Gill - Walking

    Day 340 – Nature Reserve

    Don Gill
    · 20 Feb, 2021

One thought on “On Cybernetic Capitalism

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.