See also PhD thesis entitled:
Autopoiesis (from Greek αὐτo (auto) meaning ‘self’ + ποίησις (poiesis) meaning ‘creation/production’) is term used to describe a given system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. The term was coined in 1972 by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to describe the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells. Since then the concept has been used in various scientific disciplines (e.g., cognitive psychology, neuroscience, complex systems theory, computer science, sociology, etc.) and also in various artworks.
The original definition can be found in “Autopoiesis and Cognition: the Realization of the Living” (1973):
“An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.” (p.78)
” … the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot be described by using dimensions that define another space. When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a description of this projection.” (p.89)