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The term anticommunication was coined by Herbert Brün as a mechanism in the language space for pointing at the constraints of communicating when wanting to generate something new.

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"Miss Stein herself implies somewhere that where there is communication (or identification) there can be no question of creation." Carl van Vechten A Stein Song


"I use the word communication whenever I wish to speak of a human relation between persons and things which emerges and is maintained through messages required and permitted by already available systems or mechanisms.


I use the word anticommunication whenever I wish to speak of a human relation between persons and things which emerges and is maintained through messages requiring and permitting not yet available encoding and decoding systems or mechanisms.

Communication & violence


Communication feeds on and speeds the decay of information in systems on which depends the significance of human relations.


Anticommunication not only retards this decay, but even creates systems whose significance depends on human relations.

Insistence on communication ultimately leads to social and physical violence. Anticommunication ultimately leads to the insistence on composition and peace." end quote Brün my words and where I want them Herbert Brün, 1974[1]

Anticommunication is an attempt, not a refusal." 1968 [2] It is an attempt to use clear language that is not yet communicative to create something unique.

Brün introduced the concept "anticommunication" in the fall of 1968 while co-teaching a Heuristics class with Heinz von Foerster at the University of Ilionios in Urbana IL. His premise; in order to generate something new one has to learn to create a language (more specifically a languaging), that does not repeat the old languag(ing) of communication. He argued that any system, organized by humans who live immersed in languaging, becomes communicative and thus rigid since communicative language is nested paradigms that limit the newness of ideas. So, it might be useful and hopeful to generate a new language not-yet communicative -- anticommunicate.

Anticommunication is a neologism, a word or phrase which makes little sense initially since its linguistic elements seem out-of-order.

Anticommunication does eventually become communicative, repetition rather than insistence, and thus no longer retards decay but rather becomes an element of it.

Brün composed several anticommunicative compositions during his lifetime in a variety of media including music, pros and performance. Many of his techniques were published in an essay entitled "On Anticommunication twenty years later." [3]

One example,


The desire that a link be missing precedes the establishing of connections which precedes the naming of relations which precedes the appeal to communication which precedes the need for anticommunication which precedes the discovery of the desire which precedes the missing of the link which precedes cognition. (my words and where I want them)

Anticommunicative phrases created by Herbert Brün include the following:

  • Peace is a need
  • Retardation of decay
  • Retroactive corrections
  • Beauty is a power failure

By definition, anticommunications are intentionally constructed to interfere with the everyday language known as communication. It is a rebellious act against the language of the status quo and the paradigms that guide our thinking and doing.

Anticommunication is often nested in communication in order to connect with others.

Brün said, sometimes it is necessary for a person to anticommunicate in order to provoke new starting points that generate a new form of communication, a circular process. (Brün 1986).

One premise for the Desire groups, designed by Brün and others in the 1980s, .... (Mani Brün paradigm language paper)

Brün coined the word anticommunication to communicate to his students how their desire statements were doing a disservice to them as a consequence of the accumulated communicative value of the words they were using to express their desires. Hence so that desire statements would and could go further when composing false statements instead.

Anticommunication often generates moments of non-conformity and asynchronicity so that a conversation that might create something new might emerge.

Composer, Composing and Anticommunication

Using anticommunication as a technique when wanting to compose something new.

In the essay " " presented at the American Society for Cybernetics Conference in 2009, Larry Richards offers a provocation an imperative for initiating or triggering a new way of thinking and conversing when anticommunicating...


Composition generates whole systems so that there be a context which can endow trivial ’items’ and meaningless ’materials’ with a sense and a meaning never before associated with either items or materials.

Be it linguistic art, where the sentence injects meaningful intent into mere lexicographic vocables, thus turning these into words - be it visual art, where the configuration injects meaningful intent into mere perceptible data, thus turning these into spaces, shapes, movements and color patterns -be it audible art, where the structuring of time and distance injects meaningful intent into mere acoustical phenomena, thus turning these into musical events- sooner or later both the profiteering interpreters and the consuming audience will perversely deny the composers’ competence and, instead, declare the sentence to be meant by its words, the painting to be meant by its components, and the music to be meant by its sounds.

In order to retard this unfortunate and inevitable decay (too many humans are indistinguishable from laws of nature) for as long as possible, I have contrived to inhibit such gesture forming tendencies in most of my compositions by using many a non sequitur as a structural leap over new gaps avoiding old bridges.

The intent is motivated by my non-malicious desire to keep not only my music as alienated as possible from ’business as usual’ and to have not only my composition say something to the interpreter and the listener for the longer time than it may take them to just repeat their habitual commonplaces to themselves.

The survival of composition depends on the composer’s art: anticommunication. (my words and where I want them)


  1. ^ Cybernetics of Cybernetics, The Control of Control and the Communication of Communication Original edition prepared by the students enrolled in the 'Cybernetics of Cybernetics', a course during the Fall Semester 1973 through the Spring Semester of 1974 at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
  2. ^ Scott 147
  3. ^ Brün (1989)


  • Rob Scott dissertation....
  • Francis Heylighen, and Cliff Joslyn (2001). "Cybernetics and Second Order Cybernetics", in: R.A. Meyers (ed.), Encyclopedia of Physical Science & Technology (3rd ed.), Vol. 4, (Academic Press, New York), p. 155-170.