Un projet Labex Arts H2H
en /fr
2012 - 2016

Crystalline Media - Algorithmics aesthetics in late modernity
By Alexander R. Galloway

Writer, computer programer and Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University


What kind of life is possible after cybernetics? Taking inspiration from Tiqqun's 2001 text “The Cybernetic Hypothesis,” this lecture will examine the relationship between machines and culture in today's world. Cybernetics is defined in terms of a broad set of assumptions and techniques influencing society and culture at large. These include an epistemology rooted in arrays or systems containing discrete entities, the organization of entities into systems, and the regularization of difference or asymmetry within the system overall. We begin with a series of historical investigations by way of Lewis Richardson, Warren Weaver, John von Neumann, and Paul Otlet. Then, deviating from the scientific and technical literature, we explore the concept of life with mathematician Nils Aall Barricelli, battle with military theorist Guy Brossollet, and play with Situationist Guy Debord. What results is a “crystalline media,” an infrastructure of grids and cells, a latticework of autonomous micro agents self-replicating and propagating across the fabric of the world. At times translucent, but often opaque, this crystalline infrastructure has grown more and more important in contemporary life. We will discuss what this means, but also, more importantly, what can be done about it.  


About the author

Alexander R. Galloway is a writer and computer programer working on issues in philosophy, technology, and theories of mediation. Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, he is author of several books on digital media and critical theory, including “The Interface Effect” (Polity, 2012). His collaboration with Eugene Thacker and McKenzie Wark, “Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation,” was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. Galloway's newest project is a monograph on the work of François Laruelle, just published in October 2014.

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Un projet Labex Arts H2H