Living Cybernetics: An Experimental Glossary

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation at conference/workshop/seminar


Drawing inspiration from the narrative of Mimsy Were the Borogoves, the theme for the 60th-anniversary meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics considers language at play in the connections of pasts, presents, and futures. living cybernetics | playing language further suggests that cybernetic languaging, in all forms and media, shares a logic that is informed by understandings of processes of living as they exist and may exist. Playing is a means to reach out into possible futures, to initiate the not-yet-existent.

While the 60th anniversary meeting aims to engage the values of conversations in the present and in-presence, two special journal issues, as well as a proceedings volume that captures the conversations and carries them into the future, are planned as well. Reflecting the conference theme and the anniversary occasion, we have given this proceedings volume the tentative title An Experimental Glossary. If the idea of a glossary links to reductionist ideas of language with fixed definitions, a cybernetician's task is to turn these constraints into possibilities. The idea of a glossary has some tradition in the ASC. Definitions for cybernetics that can be taken more or less seriously have had a place on the ASC's website for many years, and they have been featured in previous publications. Among these examples, Allenna Leonard's Cybernetic Bestiary from 2008 is one of the more experimental examples.

In this workshop session, we would like to explore what it means to create an experimental glossary. We will introduce the session with some examples of cybernetic glossaries, link them to the idea of a new language, touch upon the idea of wordplay, and show some examples from the field of experimental literature. The main intention of this workshop session is to develop a basic structure for the Experimental Glossary. We hope our experimental acting will carry the glossary into a new realm where language becomes languaging.

The session relates to all three strands of the conference as the idea of an experimental glossary is a form of archiving archiving that incorporates languaging as expressed technicity.
Period18 Jun 2024
Event titleASC 2024: Living Cybernetics: Playing Language: the 60th Anniversary Meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics
Event typeConference
LocationWashington, DC, United StatesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • languaging
  • cybernetics
  • glossary
  • bestiary
  • dictionaly
  • word play
  • lnaguage