10/05/2012 (Workshop)
Alexander Galloway | Penn, Philadelphia/New York


In an essay from 2001, the French collective Tiqqun speaks of what they call the cybernetic hypothesis: "[A]t the end of the twentieth century the image of steering, that is to say management, has become the primary metaphor to describe not only politics but all of human activity as well." The cybernetic hypothesis is a vast experiment beginning in the overdeveloped nations after World War II and eventually spreading to swallow the planet in an impervious logic of administration and interconnectivity. What are the origins of the cybernetic hypothesis, and what are its futures? This workshop offers a media archeology of cybernetics through an exploration of nineteenth-century chronophotography, the history of the pixel, developments in computer modeling, bit arrays and grid systems, and that most enigmatic cybernetic device, the black box. Instead of contributing to the many heroic histories of cybernetics that already populate the cultural imagination, this workshop aims to uncover an alternative history of digital systems via an examination of the aesthetics and politics of control.

Alexander R. Galloway is a writer and computer programer working on issues in philosophy, technology, and theories of mediation. Galloway is currently a visiting professor at Penn, teaching courses on Deleuze, Godard, and games. He is author or co-author of three books on media and cultural theory. Recently, the Public School New York published “French Theory Today: An Introduction to Possible Futures,” a set of five pamphlets documenting Galloway's seminar conducted here in the fall of 2010. In his future work he intends to continue to explore French philosophy and the continental tradition.


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