Support the GSOC Strike at NYU

UPDATE -- GSOC has reached a tentative agreement with the administration. Very proud of all the graduate workers at NYU. Strikes work!

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I support the NYU Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) in their process of negotiating a fair contract with the university administration. NYU president Andrew Hamilton -- who makes two million dollars per year -- has announced he won't negotiate, thus forcing a strike by graduate students.

As an NYU faculty member I stand with the graduate students. I will be respecting the picket line both physically and virtually, including classes and public events.

If you work at NYU please consider signing this open letter calling on the university to settle a fair contract.

Please also consider donating to the mutual aid fund.

On Epigenesis

In March 2020 I participated in a round table discussion at New York University on the question of epigenesis in the work of Catherine Malabou. Along with Malabou herself, we were joined by Alexander Miller, Emily Apter, Peter Szendy, and Emanuela Bianchi. The talks from the event have been edited and published in the current issue of October magazine under the title "On Epigenesis."


I'm happy to announce that my next book Uncomputable will be published in the fall by Verso. Ten years in the making, this book narrates a series of episodes from computer history, reanimated by hands-on experiments in coding and building things. I'm excited to have it see the light of day, and am planning a few special surprises to accompany the fall launch. Stay tuned...

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(Publisher's book blurb)

Narrating some lesser known episodes from the deep history of digital machines, Alexander Galloway explains the technology that drives the world today, and the fascinating people who brought these machines to life. With an eye to both the computable and the uncomputable, Galloway shows how computation emerges or fails to emerge, how the digital thrives but also atrophies, how networks interconnect while also fray and fall apart. By re-building obsolete technology using today’s software, the past comes to light in new ways, from intricate algebraic patterns woven on a hand loom, to striking artificial-life simulations, to war games and back boxes. A description of the past, this book is also an assessment of all that remains uncomputable as we continue to live in the aftermath of the long digital age.

Questions. Answers.

People have a lot of questions about digital media. I have answers.

Facial recognition technology -- should be illegal.

NFTs & blockchain -- stupid wasteful tech. pull the plug.

Facebook and Twitter -- nationalize them. end data harvesting. block all advertising.

Javascript -- awful i avoid it like the plague. alas, one of the most successful languages in the history of computing.

Jeff Bezos et al -- expropriate 100% of tech billionaire wealth. they all go to zero. maybe give them a ribbon like at the end of Wizard of Oz.

self-driving cars -- stupid wasteful tech. will increase carbon emissions and immiserate countless workers.

Uber and gig economy -- shut them all down. replace Uber with a living wage and full unionization.

HTML 5 and CSS -- psychotic. if you can code this schizo tech you are a God.

shaders -- also psychotic. but in a good way.

AI and machine learning -- just a fancy way to calculate an average. based on pilfered human labor and data. a total scam.

The Cloud -- a bad metaphor for a server farm.. which is a bad metaphor for a computer.. which is a bad metaphor for a female secretary.. which is (etc etc)

Swift -- apple did two smart things. switching to unix. and killing obj-c.

Hades -- pretty good game actually!

Things I Have No Interest In

Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama



Paul Chan


Frank Zappa

Rita Felski

Luis Buñuel


influencer academics

NPR cinema (Tree of Life, First Cow, Nomadland, etc.)


David Cronenberg; Brandon Cronenberg

logical positivism

Lecture next week on "Interweaving Poetic Code"

I'm collaborating with my old friend Taeyoon Choi for a trans-continental lecture next week on Friday, April 16 hosted by the Centre for Heritage Arts & Textile (CHAT) in Hong Kong. It's in the morning New York time (9am) and evening Hong Kong time (9pm). We'll be joined by the scholar Amy K.S. Chan. Please tune in!

Interweaving Poetic Code 織碼如詩

Friday, 16 April, 9:00pm (Hong Kong, UTC+8), 9:00am (New York, UTC-4), 10:00pm (Seoul, UTC+9)

Register here

New York- and Seoul-based artist and educator Taeyoon Choi and New York-based professor of media studies Alexander R. Galloway join to consider the common underpinnings of textile and code, including those of duality and opposition, from humans and machines to production and philosophy. How may these considerations supersede or sustain such binarisms? What alternative relations are possible? The conversation will be moderated by Amy K.S. Chan, Hong Kong-based professor and scholar researching on the intersections of technoscience and philosophy, as well as gender and literary studies.

This Keynote is part of Poetic Emergences: Organisation through Textile and Code, a 4-day online Discussion Forum held on 16 – 19 April, 2021 that gathers the voices of local and international creative practitioners including weavers, programmers, philosophers and community workers to investigate the transformative processes of textile and code.

For more information on the Discussion Forum:

Digital Hall of Fame: The Quilting Point

The quilting point was introduced in Jacques Lacan's 1956 seminar on psychoses. He defined the quilting point as a kind of "anchor" or "button" that stitches together the flux of signification. We can understand this in both a general and specific sense. Most generally, the quilting point is a way to punctuate or mark a chain of words. This happens frequently in ordinary language, where words in a sentence accumulate one after another, only conferring their meaning with the arrival of... the... last... word. The final signifier acts as a punctuating point that retroactively fixes the meaning of all the signifiers that came before it.

Lacan made this clear in his diagram for the "graph of desire" (version 1) reproduced in the Écrits (681). In that diagram the chain of signification--for example words in a sentence--precedes temporally from left to right in a horizontal arc (S to S'). At the same time, the subjective process of meaning-making intervenes from the bottom and runs counter to the arc. Bruce Fink has teased out the metaphor in literal terms: the S-S' signifying chain is "fabric," while the horseshoe arc of meaning-making piercing upward from the bottom is "thread." Meaning emerges by stitching upward, pulling taut leftward against the flow of signifiers, then anchoring the stitch downward (Fink, Lacan To The Letter, 114). Making meaning is thus a retroactive suture requiring two puncture points; meaning does not simply issue linearly from the act of speaking or writing. The quilting point is a knot that holds and fixes the flux of signification. Continue reading