Uncomputable:Play and Politics In the Long Digital Age

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A journey through the uncomputable remains of computer history

Narrating some lesser known episodes from the deep history of digital machines, Alexander R. 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.


  • Galloway's work is conceptually sharp, visually compelling and completely attuned to the political moment.

    New York Times
  • An engaging methodological hybrid of the Frankfurt School and UNIX for Dummies. Galloway brings the uncool question of morality back into critical thinking.

    Village Voice
  • Praise for Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture:

    This is contemporary media theory at its best.

    Lev Manovich, Professor of Computer Science, CUNY Graduate Center