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Alexander R. Galloway
Protocol, how control exists after decentralization
<book> The MIT Press
How much does the structure influence the contents?Network protocols dictate form and structure, but are content-agnostic, at least apparently. Alexander Galloway, former content director of Rhizome and member of the RSG collective, the developers of the artistic software Carnivore, who now teaches Media Ecology at the NY University, states that communication protocols (such as tcp/ip), instead of freeing the possibilities of interaction, implement the means of control through a rhizome which becomes the architecture on which it's based. Speaking against the words of praise usually used to describe the global network as liberating and libertarian, the author tries to show how the powers and ideologies are creeping into the processes used to continuously redefine the infrastructure, just as they continuously modify the social structures. The homogeneousness which results from the application of the technical documents are the other side of the coin of a huge and effective infrastructure which dictates the standards everybody must implement, dictating at the same time the possible uses of the network. On the other side, challenging the standards is what the hactivism practices of technical and political innovation are based on. The author covers this aspect very well, giving a meaning to this work, which otherwise would have been just a partially proven speculation. The heart of the matter, in fact, is to become aware of the political choices implied by the choice of an architecture and of the hypertrophic techniques applied by the media saboteurs to create new visions and meanings.