Prof. Alexander R. Galloway
New York University, USA
Title: The Computable and the Uncomputable
Alexander R. Galloway is a writer and computer programmer working on issues in philosophy, technology, and theories of mediation. He is author of several books on digital media and critical theory, including The Interface Effect (2012), Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation in collaboration with Eugene Thacker and McKenzie Wark (2013), and Laruelle: Against the Digital (2014). For ten years he worked with RSG on Carnivore, Kriegspiel and other software projects. Galloway’s newest project is the monograph Uncomputable: Play and Politics In the Long Digital Age (2021).
Analog life, rational paradox, practical limit — the uncomputable is all around us. Narrating some lesser known episodes from the era of digital machines, this lecture will discuss how computation emerges or fails to emerge, how the digital thrives but also atrophies, how networks interconnect while also fray and fall apart. Reanimating the past — and sometimes re-building it in software — Alexander Galloway investigates the intricate algebraic patterns woven by Ada K. Dietz in the 1940s, the striking artificial-life simulations of Nils Aall Barricelli made after the war, as well as Guy Debord’s anomalous “Game of War” from 1978, which has been programmed to run on the computer by way of a “Debord AI.” Beyond simply a description of the past, we will also consider future life in the aftermath of the long digital age.