Exemplar: Galloway + Thacker

Notes for a Liberated Computer Language

Appendix to The Exploit

Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker. 2007. The Exploit: A Theory of Networks. Univ Of Minnesota Press.

“To record the sound sequences of speech,” wrote Friedrich Kittler, “literature has to arrest them in a system of twenty – six letters, thereby categorically excluding all noise sequences.”

A fascinating act of transduction is language. But we worry. We worry about the imaginary, supplemental alphabets starting with letter twenty – seven. This is the impulse behind our notes for a liberated computer language, to reintroduce new noisy alphabets into the rigid semantic zone of informatic networks. The symbolic economies discussed in the 1970s by theorists such as Jean – Joseph Goux have today been digitized and instantiated into the real codes of life itself. What was once an abstract threat, embodied in specific places (the school, the factory) with particular practices of control and exploitation, is today written out in gross detail (the RFCs, the genome), incorporated into the very definitions of life and action. This is why liberated languages are so important today. We consider there to be little difference between living informatic networks and the universal informatic languages and standards used to define and sculpt them. If the languages are finite, then so, unfortunately, are the life possibilities. Thus a new type of language is needed, a liberated computer language for the articulation of political desires in today’s hostile climate of universal informatics. We offer these notes for a liberated computer language as a response to the new universalism of the informatic sciences that have subsumed all of Goux’s symbolic economics.

Most computer languages are created and developed according to the principles of efficiency, utility, and usability. These being but a fraction of the human condition, the following language specification shuns typical machinic mandates in favor of an ethos of creative destruction. The language contains data types, operators, control structures, and functions, the latter defined using a standard verb – object syntax adopted from computer science whereby the function name appears first followed by the variable being passed to the function (example: functionName VARIABLE).

Check out their proposed Data Types, Operators, Control Structures, and Functions at the following link: http://r-s-g.org/LCL/

And here is a bit of a summary, which also talks about Latour’s work: http://www.uscrhetoricaltheory.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Hawk_RTC-2013.pdf


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