Epilogue
History is never linear. So its study seemingly welcomes repetition. Cybernet-
ics, in particular, drives this historical imperative; inviting feedback and repe-
tition until one’s own thinking starts to oscillate. Scales are ruptured. Different
“images” emerge.
Epilogues offer such possibilities. They are heterotopic spaces, not really
part of the book, not yet a new program or project. Perhaps spaces that can
produce other visions of our present. So I want to return one last time to a
theme recurring in this text— the binding and unbinding of history and mean-
ing to territory.
Of all the stories I came across when attempting to do a history of cyber-
netics and its many influences on the cultural landscape, the one that remains
most poignant for being both exemplary of a post– World War ii transfor-
mation in aesthetic sensibility and irreducibly specific to historical accidents
and conditions is that of two gardens both designed by one of the preeminent
sculptors and environmental artists of the time— Isamu Noguchi. Perhaps
these are the fabled cybernetic gardens presupposed by Archigram. Or maybe
they offer something less ironic, less dialectic, less humorous but more empa-
thetic. A little less boys with their toys. Far less familiar to those of us studying
computing or cybernetics, for sure. If there is one thing that is certain it is that
these gardens evoke a different set of emotions than the cute and churlish dia-
grams of agitprop architects.
The first is a sculpture garden built in 1962– 1963 in the midst of the new
corporate headquarters of ibm in Armonk, New York, a far western sub-
urb of New York City. The second is the sculpture garden that was built, at
roughly the same time, to house the new collection of the recently opened
Israel Museum in Jerusalem. These rock gardens, like all gardens, are fertile in
their function, and they tell a tale of transformations in aesthetics, economy,
and politics. These gardens unlike the magical palaces and instant cities of
Archigram, were actually built, but perhaps never realized, and so they offer
material sites of excavation into alternative futures of the past. They offer,
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