Spring Season Issue 77 | Cold War Cybernetics: Information Fantasy and Power Stratification

冷战控制论:信息幻象和权力分层
Registration is Closed

Time & Location

May 01, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT
Zoom Meeting

About the Event

CVSZ 2021 Spring Season — Online Panel No.77

Spring Season Issue 77 Cold War Cybernetics: Information Fantasy and Power Stratification

Time:

Pacfic Time (PTS) May 1th 7:00pm--9:00pm

Beijing Time May 2th 10:00am--12:00am

Location:

Zoom

主题:Issue 77 冷战控制论:信息幻象和权力分层

时间:2021年5月2日 10:00 上午 北京,上海

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8998623159

Meeting Number:899 862 3159

YouTube Live

Bilibili Live

Host:

Cao XueFei

Guest Speaker:

Wang Hongzhe, Xiao Liu

Online Panel Synopsis:

The photo features the Qigong fever in the 90s. The case in Xijiao, Beijing was not special at that time. Weird information noise traversed the skyline and was fantasized by people who believe through which humans can arouse their potentialities in a way of somatic science. This was related to Qian Xuesen’s somatic science published in the 80s, combining the communist ideology with the  somatic science.

If we look through magazines, posters, and translations in past decades, we could find an important influence of western theories of cybernetics, informatics, and systematics (三论) since the 50s. Through the mass culture of the early socialist Sci-fi novels, photographs of Qigong Fever and cult films in the 80s- 90s, and other translations, we can tell a changing attitude toward cybernetics in such a political background. In line with socialist principle, cybernetics as a science and technology should be shared with people, under which Qian Xuesen envisaged a way to combine scientists/intellectuals and the masses in 1956. This was tightly related to the Cold War background in Mao period when cybernetics mainly served for heavy industry and military production. In the post-Mao period, however, the politicization of digital fantasy has been more replaced by the free market with the escalation and the sudden breakup of the Cold War.

In this issue, we will explore Chinese cybernetic strategies and mass cultures during the different stages of the Cold War. In varying situations, did digitized management correspond with the mobilized socialist pathway? How were productive relations changed during the digitalization in post-socialist China? How to imbue people with scientific knowledge of digital production rather than mystifying it? Besides, how to make cybernetics alternative in light of its development in the U.S, Soviet Union, and Chile? Through these questions, we would explore the relations between Chinese digital fantasy, professionalization of science and technology, and power stratification in the changing phases in the Cold War.

To unfold the history of Chinese cybernetics, we could also have a better understanding of contemporary digital China. It is not surprising to encounter AI fever nowadays. AI as a trendy development of cybernetics, informatics, and systematics, connects our new millennial life everywhere, driving faster circulation, logistics, decision-making and also triggering social issues of digital labour and digital surveillance systems. Traced back to past decades, we could understand the trajectory of a new social value and a discourse in China surrounding a powerful nation, booming economy and technology, and substantial spirituality.

Guest Speaker Introduction:

Xiao Liu

Xiao Liu’s research cut across areas of information studies, media and communication studies, science and technology studies, technology governance and policy, as well as science fiction and cultural studies. Her book, Information Fantasies: Precarious Mediation in Postsocialist China (University of Minnesota Press 2019), is the winner of the Science Fiction Research Association 2019 Book Award.

Wang Hongzhe

Wang Hongzhe was born in Anshan  in 1983. His research interests include media history, Cold War history, information society and labor studies. He is now associate professor in School of Journalism and Communication, Peking University. He has long been involved in the advanced research in media-centered humanity and social studies. He is a pioneering explorer in the understanding of the relationship between information technology and Chinese socialism path. He is now working on a book, Machine for a Long Revolution: Computer as the Nexus of Technology and Class Politics in China 1955-1984.

CVSZ 2021 春季单元 — 专题第77期

冷战控制论:信息幻象和权力分层

时间:

5月1日太平洋时间 PST 7:00pm--9:00pm

5月2日北京时间GMT10:00am--12:00am

地点:

Zoom会议

加入 Zoom 会议

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8998623159

会议号:899 862 3159

Youtube直播

BiliBili直播

主持人:曹雪菲

嘉宾:

Liam Young

陈楸帆

单元策划:曹雪菲 | 本期编辑:曹雪菲

✦出品人: 徐頔 |  研究室主任: 翁静妍

对话概述

上图为1993年在北京西郊的气功师聚会上拍摄的照片。从上世纪七十年代末开始,一股"气功热"席卷了毛时代之后的中国,吸引了六千多万名专门练习者。这股"气功热"涉及到全国各地的党政高官和科研院所、高校,也涉及到许多著名的科学家,比如钱学森,他的名字与中国的导弹和航天工程有关,是最著名的、最有政治影响力的科学家。照片中,每一个修炼者,显然都处于沉思恍惚的状态,他们的头上都戴着一个煮饭的锅。他们被称为 "信息锅",希望能接收来自外太空的信息,从而形成 "天人感应"。

公元前三世纪前后形成和发展起来的一种宇宙观,在中国历史上第一次出现了统一的、中央集权的政治秩序,"天人感应"为皇权及其统治者提供了合法性和指导。在这个宇宙世界中,天的宏观世界与国家和身体的微观世界成为一套单一的多元共鸣系统。然而,这种宇宙与身体的共鸣观在这一当代语境中获得了新的意义,这不仅是因为宇宙观在此时被转化为新的"世俗化"实践,而且因为这种共鸣被认为是对理想的"天人观"关系的揭示,也被中国的科学家和知识分子所接受,成为对人体的整体性认识的哲学基础。围绕着气功,无论是高层科学家还是普通人,无论是官方的关注,还是围绕着气功的大众诉求,其关键词都是"信息"。钱学森等人热衷于推动气功的研究,把气功作为一种捷径,探索出一种人体与信息环境之间更直接的秘密沟通机制。党和政府在不久前正式宣布"文革"结束,并围绕邓小平的经济发展计划进行整顿后,急于追赶西方发达国家,在"信息革命"的大潮中乘风破浪。1978年,毛泽东之后的中国改革缔造者邓小平在全国科学大会上号召要迅速发展电子计算、网络技术和自动化技术。关于即将到来的"信息社会"的各种预言在中国得到了广泛的传播和关注,尤其是1983年和1988年,阿尔文∙托夫勒的《第三次浪潮》一书被翻译成中文,并亲自到中国访问,更是引起了人们的广泛关注。(注:《第三次浪潮》的中译本1981年在香港首次出现,1983年中国大陆出版了该书的全译本)。无论是在官方和知识分子的论述中,还是在科学和大众的想象中,"信息"都被幻想成一种神奇的力量,将后毛时代的中国带入一个新的时代。照片中的情景与我所说的"信息幻想"在七十年代末八十年代后毛时代的"信息幻想"联系在一起,结晶了一个急剧变化的社会中各种社会力量和意识形态的焦虑和渴望,以及各种社会力量和意识形态的交织和矛盾。

嘉宾简介

刘晓

刘晓的研究横跨媒体与信息,技术治理,以及科幻、文化研究等领域。她的专著Information Fantasies: Precarious Mediation in Postsocialist China (University of Minnesota Press 2019) 荣获科幻研究协会2019著作奖。

王洪喆,1983年出生于鞍山,媒介史学者。

王洪喆,1983年生于鞍山。他的研究兴趣包括媒体史、冷战史、信息社会和劳动研究。现任北京大学新闻与传播学院副教授。长期从事以媒体为中心的人文社会研究的高级研究。他开拓了关于信息技术与中国社会主义道路关系方面的理解。他现在正在写一本书,Machine for a Long Revolution:  Computer as the Nexus of Technology and Class Politics in China 1955-1984

主持人简介

曹雪菲

毕业于伦敦大学金史密斯学院,Conversazione撰稿人。曾撰稿于电影媒体、协助独立影展与电影节策划。现关注全球南方历史与思辨 未来议题,研究方向为地缘政治下的技术与文化,中国城市空间与思想变迁。

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