Re: the digital

Monday, 29 October 2018, 7.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Conversation with
Alexander Galloway | Yuk Hui

Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Are they? What does that mean in the first place? What is the digital? Is it an ontological sphere opposed to the analogue? What constitutes it? What are digital objects? Where do they end? And how did they emerge?

Alexander Galloway will present his conception of the digital in form of a theoretical double: the uncoupling of the digital from a technical infrastructure while binding it within a logic of distinction. As for traditional metaphysics, he argues, the fundamental act of the digital is the division into two discrete units of things: “Hegel is dead, but he lives on inside the electric calculator” (Laruelle). From this premise, his interest for Guy Debord’s “Game of War” and the artificial organisms brought to life by Nils Aall Barricelli concerns the possibility to think non-digitality.

Opposing Galloway’s logical approach, Yuk Hui narrows the digital down in the current mode of concretisation of the technical object. Through the work of Gilbert Simondon, his engagement with the digital object is bound to the understanding of its individuation. His current work is dedicated to a conceptualisation of cosmotechnics as “the unification of the cosmos and the moral through technical activities”.

Alexander Galloway is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University interested in philosophy, technology and theories of mediation. Besides his programming work of Kriegsspiel and Carnivore he authored Laruelle: Against the Digital (Minnesota, 2014), The Interface Effect (Polity, 2012), Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Minnesota, 2006), and Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (MIT, 2004). Currently he is a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.

Yuk Hui studied Computer Engineering and Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong and Goldsmiths College in London, with a focus on the philosophy of technology. He is the author of On the Existence of Digital Objects (Minnesota, 2016), The Question Concerning Technology in China. An Essay in Cosmotechnics (Urbanomic, 2016) and Recursivity and Contingency (forthcoming 2019). Currently he teaches at the Institut für Philosophie und Kunstwissenschaft at Leuphana University Lüneburg and at the China Academy of Art.