In conversation with Prof. Peter Checkland at the Hofburg, Vienna, during ÖSGK conference on Progress in Cybernetics and Systems Research, 1976
The systems approach
In the mid-1960s I wrestled with Norbert Wiener’s 'cybernetics', to which I was introduced by Roy Ascott. Later, when I needed theoretical underpinnings for my plunge into interactive art, curiosity gave way to a practical need to the overarching concept of system. By 1970 a research group had been established within the City of Leicester Polytechnic and I produced the first of its printed monographs: “Towards a General Systems Model of the Artistic Process”. Ernest Edmonds introduced me to the first UK conference of the Society for General Systems Research; I became a member, Editor of the UK Regional Systems Bulletin and a regular contributor to conferences in the field in Vienna, London and New York and contributed in a consultative capacity to the work of the Systems Group of the Open University, led in its formative period by the late Professor John Beishon.
In 1970 Edmonds and I produced an attempt to outline a systems model of the interaction between the artist, the work of art and the person encountering the work, presented in that year and published in 1973. The artist Stephen Willats had meanwhile published a paper in which I endeavoured to outline a systems model of the artistic process (1972). Several other papers dealing with aspects of systems thinking during the 1970s are included in the list of publications on this Website.