The Exploit


Alex Galloway, in both his art and writing, seems to have made it his mission to expose the cracks in contemporary computer culture. Well-known for hacking his way into games to expose their bugs or glitches, Galloway is also a founding member of the Radical Software Group who, among other projects, produced 'Carnivore' a data surveillance tool that transforms internet traffic into visual art. In addition to his artistic production Galloway's writing has increasingly concerned itself with the fault lines that underlie the base structures of both computer operating systems and networks. In The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (2007), Galloway and coauthor Eugene Thacker explore the political and social implications of these cracks, or what hackers refer to as 'exploits.' In a recent interview with Pau Alsina, Galloway expands on the book's themes, notably the oft deliberated issues of knowledge and power that circumscribe networks. The interview provides some notable quotes: providing a counterpoint to utopian views of the Web 2.0, Galloway posits that 'the web is, in essence, the world's largest sweat shop,' and he describes game art and modifications (that he acknowledges he himself makes) as 'convulsions of formal introspection.' Building upon his previous books, Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (2004) and Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (2006), The Exploit crystallizes Galloway's interest in digging into the very structures upon which new media art and, increasingly, broader culture is based, and the interview with Alsina should excite readers to take it on. - Caitlin Jones