Internet as Playground and Factory

Alexander R. Galloway


Alexander R. Galloway is an author and programmer. He is a founding member of the software collective RSG and coauthor, with Eugene Thacker, of The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (Minnesota, 2007) as well as two other books on digital culture. He teaches at New York University.


  The Absolute and the Virtual

While the new condition of digital life is one in which the distinction between play and labor has collapsed, at the same time a number of new divisions have appeared: segregations between us and them, segregations between text and image, or segregations between race and class. Drawing primarily on the game World of Warcraft, I examine the way in which many games today subscribe to a specific concept of class and race, one still based on all the old demons: segregation, division, essentialism, and exploitation. How did this happen? After the labor movement, after Jim Crow, after civil rights, after neoliberalism, race and class today have been "liberated," but at the same time, they exist now in a purely simulated form. I suggest that the age-old logic of exploitation has never been more alive, never more purely actualized, than in today's computer simulations.