SAM Seminar: Strange Loops

When:24 Apr 2018, 3:30pm - 5pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Henry Sussman, Yale
coloured loops

This talk pivots around the figure of the "strange loop": how its dimension-expanding & meta-critical capabilities—always in the direction, like the Derridean brisure, of the open system, literally rebounds from one medium—literature, music, painting, cinema—to the next. Douglas Hofstadter foresaw this, and hence back in the breathless founding days of cybernetics there was an elective affinity between the giant steps taken at the time between philologically grounded theory & cybernetics that has not been fully recognized. The talk proceeds from basic definitions of analog, digital, and the loops themselves to some of the delightful examples that visually-oriented literature has come up with. These include Laurence Sterne’s digressions, Lewis Carroll’s and D. W. Winnicott’s squiggles, and the impossible literary figures of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. This then extends into the proto-cybernetic sensibility infusing Buffalo language poet Steve McCaffery's experimental poetry.

Henry Sussman is Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. The most recent of his many books are Idylls of the Wanderer: Outside in Literature and Theory and The Task of the Critic: Poetics, Philosophy, Religion (both Fordham University Press). Professor Sussman will present as a Distinguished Visitor to the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW.

SAM Seminar Series

This series provides a showcase and forum for local as well as international scholars, researchers, industry practitioners and creative artists – ranging from early-career to well-established – to present on their work. No need to book, all welcome.

Find out more and see the full program.
Enquiries contact: SAM Seminar Convenor, Michael Richardson –

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor.

More information on getting to UNSW.
Download a campus map.  (PDF)

Supported by UNSW Creative Practice Lab

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