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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathCybernetic Aesthetics
Kommunikationssystem (Shannon, Claude), 1949

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and writing. Throughout the history of civilization new methods and levels of artifice satisfying the need for a communication system appropriate to the prevailing social form have continuously been created. The attempt of Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver in 1948 to work out a logical communication system may be seen as exemplary in the framework of a general theory of communication. Shannon examined the physical and static properties of messages, whereby his approach was comparable with formalizations in the fields of logic and physics. [3]

According to Shannon’s «Diagram of the Communication System,» in the technical process of communication information refers not to meaning but to a quantity of signals contained in the message. The basic problem of communication technology—for instance the quantification of information, or the capacity of a channel—insofar lay for Shannon and Weaver in the fields of mathematics and physics, irrespective of signals or coding and also of whether the transmitters and receivers be machines or human beings. The same starting point was adopted by a new aesthetic direction inspired directly by cybernetics. It


saw information as the key concept to understanding aesthetic processes, and attempted by means of formalization to create an opposing stance to Kantian and Hegelian tendencies of aesthetic theory. The objective of a formal aesthetic system aimed to deepen not interpretations or value judgements but the system of the work itself, the organization of elements and signs. Every work of art, in fact every artistic expression, was now viewed as a message transmitted by a creative individual (an artist or group of artists), known as the transmitter, to another individual (or group), known as the receiver, over a channel (systems of visual, auditory, and other modes of perception). [4]

The approach of examining art in terms of information theory displays parallels to semiotics and its definition of message structures. For Charles Morris, one of the founders of semiotics, art was a language for the communication of values. The value function is derived from the fact that its signs represent final objects. Viewed from this perspective, the basis of language is reduced to predictable, purpose-oriented, syntactic qualities. Theory in the environs of rational aesthetics therefore evaluates the art object as a

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