From “The Metaphysics of Networks” by Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker, in Censoring Culture.
But we find it curious that networks in this characterization are rarely contextualized–or rendered historical or archaeological. On the one hand, the centralized structure of empire is assumed to emerge out of a long history of economically driven imperialism and colonialism. On the other hand, the various “networks” which resist empire seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere, despite the fact that the technologies, which constitute these networks, are themselves rooted in governmental, military, and commercial developments. We need only remind ourselves of the military backdrop of World War II-era mainframe computing and the Cold War context of ARPAnet to realize that networks are not ahistorical entities, but given meaning by surrounding complex interactions among institutions, businesses, “subjected” individuals, and social groups.
yesssssssssssss fuck yes. YES! YES, the human spirit. YES rebellion. YES networks resisting empire popping out of nowhere. this is what it means. this is what it means to fight. this is what human is. this is how we do, what we do. yes yes yes yes YES. triumphant-like, foghorn-sound like. awesome. awesome!!!!!
So the tragedy is that the new bidirectional (or “interactive”) media were swept in on a promise of liberation and freedom – Enzensberger’s assumption that an interactive media is an “emancipated” media is a perfect example of this. In their infancy interactive media were indeed liberating, particularly because they were deployed in opposition to centralized, unidirectional media. But in the meantime new techniques for reestablishing sovereignty and control inside interactive media have been discovered. This is the tragedy. So today the challenge is to discover a new space, one which has the same liberating relationship with today’s dominant media as Enzensberger’s “emancipated” media did decades ago. Eugene Thacker and I call this new space “counter-protocol”.