Chapter 5: Strategies for Disrupting Networks

PART II: UNTHINKING THE NETWORK

[A]nd now the excluded . . . whose lands have been robbed of the minerals, for example, which go into the building of railways and telegraph wires and TV sets and jet airliners and guns and bombs and fleets, must attempt, at exorbitant cost, to buy their manufactured resources back—­which is not even remotely possible, since they must attempt this purchase with money borrowed from their exploiters. If they attempt to work out their salvation—­their autonomy—­on terms dictated by those who have excluded them, they are in a delicate and dangerous position, and if they refuse, they are in a desperate one: it is hard to know which case is worse.
—James Baldwin, No Name in the Street

CHAPTER 5
Strategies for Disrupting Networks

WHEREAS IT TOOK SEVENTY-ONE YEARS for the telephone to reach half of the homes in the United States, it took only ten years for the same portion of households to get access to the Internet.[1] Certainly, the possibilities associated with the Internet—­and with digital networks in general—­have not run out their course. But regardless of how new or old technologies are, it is always necessary to question their impact in the political and economic planes in which they operate. At some point, it might even be necessary to set about the task of unthinking the way they have shaped us as a way to reverse some of those impacts. In a climate in which digital networks are being lauded for their positive influence, however, this exercise might seem unnecessary and even antiprogressive. And yet in the case of digital networks, authors such as Tiziana Terranova, Geert Lovink, Jodi Dean, Ned Rossiter, Alexander Galloway, Eugene Thacker, Mark Andrejevik, Evgeny Morozov, Joss Hands,[2] and many others have set out to formulate a critical theory of networks, an analysis that exposes the use of digital networks for the purpose of profit, control, and surveillance. But these authors have also attempted to frame possible ways in which the decentralizing potential of digital networks can be leveraged for articulating new forms of resistance and freedom. After all, as Hardt and Negri suggested, “[i]t takes a network to fight a network.”[3]

To the extent that the affordances of a technology can be transformed by human agency, there are possibilities for using digital networks in ways that do not generate inequality. For instance, recent events demonstrate that digital networks can play an important role in organizing resistance movements. The tools of one corporation can be used to organize protests against another corporation or sometimes even against that very same corporation. But we should not let some isolated examples obstruct the truth of what the network has become for the majority of its users: not a tool for changing power structures, but a tool for arresting that change through consumerism and entertainment.

Disrupting or unmapping the digital network is not about celebrating what a small group of hackers can achieve with open-­source tools, as important as that work might be. It is about dissecting the way in which the digital network is experienced by the rest of us: the millions of web surfers, prosumers (producers-­consumers of media), cell phone users, and video gamers. It is about asking whether the imagination and ethics necessary to resist nodocentrism can emerge from the very networks we use. It is about replacing the notion that someone can design a better network with the idea that the network model itself needs to be disrupted. If the logic of the network acts as a social determinant that produces inequality, unmapping it is about conceptualizing the virtual sites from which to unthink this logic.

The Virtuality of Networks

If, as Latour suggests, digital networks can “make visible what was before only present virtually,”[4] it is because they allow us to recognize new forms of sociality that before only existed as potentialities. But what exactly is virtuality before it is rendered visible, and through what process is it made so? In other words, in what ways is virtuality already present even before we can see the digital network? Does it continue to be present afterward? What is it about the digital network as a technology that makes the process of actualization possible, rendering the virtual visible? In order to answer these questions, we need a better grasp of the virtual, something beyond the common understanding of the word usually associated with concepts like virtual reality, which hint at alternate realms of reality distinct from our “real” reality. Earlier, the false distinction between a networked or mediated self and an unnetworked/unmediated self was explored, and this is an opportunity to continue that discussion in terms of the dichotomy between the virtual and the actual, as they relate to ways of being in the digital network.

As stated before, early attempts to make sense of emerging social formations facilitated by digital networks conceived of virtuality as a space detached from the local and the “real.” This alternate or virtual reality was a separate world endowed with a relevancy of its own and with distinct norms and laws. In this virtual space you could pretend to be whoever or whatever you wanted (on the Internet, nobody knew you were a dog, to quote the famous cartoon). Eventually, however, the distinction between the virtual and the real began to disappear as digital networks integrated more and more aspects of our real and virtual lives. Virtuality (as in cyberspace) was no longer merely a site for manufactured alternate identities (although it continued to afford that), but an enhanced social space for the continuation of our offline identities.

Consequently, the concept of virtuality moved away from popular discourse; people stopped talking about their virtual friends and virtual communities and simply referred to them as friends and communities. From the perspective of network logic, what mattered was simply whether something was a node in the network or not (what I call nodocentrism). Before, virtuality had been positioned as the unreal, an alternative to the real or sometimes even the corruptor of the real (Jean Baudrillard,[5] for instance, bemoans the disappearance of the real and its substitution by the simulated, the virtual). But now virtuality ceased to be perceived as a threat to the real. Nonetheless, as I intend to show by relying on the work of the philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the virtual—­and its counterpart, the actual—­can be employed to affirm the real, increasing our understanding and therefore our engagement with it. In other words, the concept of the virtual can be repositioned as a tool for thinking outside the network, and for intensifying it into a different form of reality.

The problem is not that digital networks virtualize the social or make it less real. The problem is that by actualizing a social reality (making the virtual visible), digital networks rigidify a social structure and foreclose alternatives. The way to solve this problem, I propose, is to continue the process of actualization in a way that intensifies social relations and negates the digital network itself. In order to achieve this, however, we need to start from the virtual.

How to define the virtual? Before offering metaphors and analogies to try to explain what the virtual is, it is pertinent to point out that those are bound to be insufficient and inexact because what we are trying to do is define a kind of ontology. The whole point of defining an ontology—­a methodical account of being—­is to do away with explanations that require further explanations of a higher order. For Deleuze, the virtual and the actual should not be defined by comparison or by association to anything else, because the virtual and the actual are the ontological building blocks of reality. An ontology defines what is given about reality, what is not questioned. “A philosopher’s ontology is the set of entities he or she assumes to exist in reality, the types of entities he or she is committed to assert actually exist.”[6] So any metaphor or analogy used to explain the nature of the virtual might be illustrative but should not be confused with the virtual itself. In fact, there is nothing that can effectively be equated with the virtual. The virtual is unlike anything but itself. In this sense, DeLanda characterizes Deleuze’s ontology as realist, one that grants reality “full autonomy from the human mind, disregarding the difference between the observable and the unobservable, and the anthropocentrism this distinction implies.”[7]

Unlike other realist philosophers, Deleuze tries to do away with transcendental explanations of reality. In other words, while for Deleuze reality is not the product of the human mind, it is also not the product of invisible forces, beings, essences, or ideals. Deleuze’s ontology is one of immanence: there are no explanations that point to other ultimate realities. Claire Colebrook observes, “In contrast to transcendence as an ‘ethics of knowledge’ where we seek to obey some ultimate truth, Deleuze described his own philosophy as an ethics of amor fati: as love of what is (and not as the search for some truth, justification or foundation beyond, outside or transcendent to what is).”[8]

Despite previous attempts to situate virtuality as the antithesis of reality, the opposite of the virtual is the actual, not the real. In fact, virtuality is very much part of reality. In the Deleuzian ontology, the reality you and I are experiencing right now is the result of a transformation (or to be precise, a multitude of ongoing transformations) in which an undifferentiated and abstract virtuality becomes a differentiated and concrete actuality. Becoming is the unfolding of this transition, the creative act through which things emerge from virtuality as differentiated individuals or actualities. Reality, as DeLanda puts it, is “a relatively undifferentiated and continuous topological space undergoing discontinuous transitions and progressively acquiring detail until it condenses into the measurable and divisible metric space which we inhabit.”[9] Everything that exists, in other words, is an actualization of the virtual. Metaphorically (keeping in mind the caveat about using metaphors to explain virtuality), one could compare virtuality to the undifferentiated mess of subatomic particles and actuality to the unique compounds and organisms that emerge as those particles unite and acquire particularity. Or one could compare virtuality to the infinite set of numbers and actuality to specific numbers such as 4, 29, or 23,628,732. In each illustration, it would be impossible to perceive, all at once, the virtuality of all the universe’s subatomic particles or all the numbers (although we know such a totality exists, if only conceptually). But it is possible to grasp the actualized manifestations of those sets (a particular object, a particular number). The virtual, to be more exact, is not so much the opposite as it is the counterpart of the actual: it is the unseen part of the actual that suggests an invisible whole, a whole that is nonetheless very much real—­not imaginary, conceptual, or transcendent. The virtual, Deleuze argues, is “[r]eal without being actual, ideal without being abstract, and symbolic without being fictional.”[10]

Even though it might appear as if the virtual is the source of the actual, the relationship between the virtual and the actual is not hierarchical; virtuality does not represent a purer or higher state from which the actual is derived as a by-­product. The fact is that the virtual could not exist without the actual and vice versa; each owes its existence to the other. To return to the point about immanence, Deleuze’s ontology attempts to do away with explanations of reality in which our world is seen as a derivative of higher forms or essences. The virtual, therefore, is affirmed in its reality by the actual, anchored by it in the here and now, participating with it in the same single reality, confirmed with each repetition of the process whereby the virtual becomes actualized in a unique and creative way (referred to by Deleuze as the “event”).

Repetition is an important characteristic of this process, since actualization—­the transformation of virtual into actual—­is not a discreet, once-­and-­for-­all occurrence in the existence of a thing. It is an incessant cycle, which is why we can say that objects are continuously and simultaneously virtual and actual: at all times they have one foot in each realm of reality. One way to understand this by analogy is to think of the actual as specific and the virtual as universal and to think of objects as simultaneously specific and universal. Insofar as we perceive objects as actual, as concrete, they are specific; but insofar as all objects partake of the same single reality, they are universal or (partly) virtual. Another important aspect of Deleuze’s ontology is that one thing’s way of being real is the same as another thing’s way of being real, even when we are talking about two completely different things such as a plant and a rock, or a rock and an idea. The balance of virtual and actual is the same in all things, so that we cannot say that some things are more virtual than others, or that some things are more actual than others. According to Deleuze, being is univocal instead of equivocal—­it has only one sense, not two or more. Being can be said of all things in the same way: the plant is, the rock is, the idea is. Differences in being are conceptual (a result of how we interpret them), not existential.

I suggested earlier that virtuality is the unseen part of the actual that connects it to an invisible whole (“invisible” not in the sense that it is not real, but in the sense that we might not be able to contemplate it in its entirety). Now that we have established that being is univocal, the nature of this whole becomes clearer. Let us go back to our numbers example. We know that the number four is real in the same way that the number twenty-­nine is real (even though they are different numbers or different actualities). We also know that both actualities refer to a whole, which is the set of all numbers. This set is infinite, so it is impossible to grasp or contemplate it all at once. But we know that it is nonetheless real, because any actualization we can conceive or perceive (e.g., any number) is real. Since being can be said of everything in the same way, all actualities necessarily refer to the same reality, to the same whole. Virtuality is this whole, this common denominator that all actuals share. This is why Deleuze often refers to the virtual as the whole or the one. But we must immediately avoid falling into the trap here of reifying virtuality as a transcendental source of the real. The virtual whole does not function as a pure essence, which generates derivative actualities (as in Plato’s ontology). As we said, virtuality is part of the same reality as the actuals; it exists in parallel to them and cannot be without them. Thus virtuality is a multiplicity. This might sound like a paradox given that we just implied that the virtual whole is a unity. But what we are saying is that the virtual one can only be said to exist through the actualization of the many. In other words, the virtual one should never be accorded a transcendental existence above or apart from the actualized many. Virtuality does not exist at a higher plane of being from which it reigns over actuality as an abstract unity; it is very much part of the world that we perceive through actualization. The virtual and the actual are equally participating partners in the same single reality.

Repetition was mentioned earlier as a key process in this ontology of immanence. Virtuality is an undifferentiated multiplicity, and objects only acquire differentiating attributes (or singularity) when they become actual. But actualization must repeat itself over and over again because the actual is situated in space and is subject to time. Repetition generates difference, so for something to become actualized is for it to be constantly repeated and constantly changing: “For the nature of the virtual is such that, for it, to be actualized is to be differentiated. Each differentiation is a local integration or a local solution which then connects with others in the overall solution or the global integration.”[11] Therefore, each local solution is not a static node in a network. Difference is individuation, but an individuation that is momentary and contextual, not permanent (which is why a network cannot be drawn once, but must be “animated,” set in motion). Difference should not be defined negatively, “as lack of resemblance” (X is different from Y because it lacks this or that attribute), but positively or productively, “as that which drives a dynamic process”[12] (X1 meets Y1 and results in X2). We shall return to the matter of difference in the next section.

But first, I should clarify why Deleuze’s theories on virtuality—­condensed hastily in these few paragraphs—­might be relevant to our understanding of digital networks. We could think of the process of enabling digital networks as a process of actualization through which social structures become concrete and tangible, and we could think of algorithms as specific actualities that make concrete and tangible specific social processes. For instance, the algorithm of collaborative filtering solidifies or actualizes in a particular way both the technical procedure and the social meaning of what it means to recommend something, and to the extent that this algorithm is propagated en masse by monopsonies, it becomes a dominant construct that precludes alternatives from competing in reality. In this sense, nodocentrism actualizes (makes concrete) social formations that were present only virtually; however, once it does so, it also obscures their virtual origins by foreclosing alternatives. When the network reaches the limits of its own nodes, new possibilities need to be intensified.

FROM VIRTUAL TO INTENSE

An epistemological exclusivity that eliminates everything but the actuality of the node is a form of reductionism. This form of reductionism rejects the virtuality of possibilities that the outsides of networks can engender. And yet the network can only dictate what is possible within it, not what is possible outside it. Paradoxically, by establishing the limits of what is possible in the inside, the network also delineates a plan for how it is possible to differ from it in the outside—­that is, it sets the parameters for what we need to do in order to differentiate ourselves from it. The network (to paraphrase Deleuze) is what separates us from knowing ourselves, “what we have to go through and beyond in order to think what we are.”[13] In this sense, the network can be applied in the generation of forms of knowledge that can be used to subvert its own logic: The more the network delimits and specifies nodes in one way (by actualizing certain forms of sociality), the more it makes it possible to unmap those nodes in multiple other ways. And although participation in the network need not reveal the inequalities that monopsonies benefit from, the opposition of what is outside the network—­multiplied across sites, moments, and identities—­can reveal those inequalities, exposing the tension between nodes and non­nodes. The application of unmapping strategies is what can intensify those tensions, what can drive the logic of the network to its limits. The objective of this process of intensification is, simply put, the production of difference.

The way we interpret the digital network is a continuation of the trend Deleuze found in most of Western philosophy to subordinate being to an essentialist and unchanging identity, a way of making sense of the world that requires a fixed subjectivity. Deleuze believes that much of Western philosophy lacks a way to think difference in and of itself, without subordinating it to identity: one thing’s identity makes it different from another, places it in opposition (I am me; you are not me; therefore we are different). This kind of difference “implies the negative, and allows itself to lead to contradiction.”[14] Deleuze compares a Hegelian worldview, for instance, in which “the thing differs . . . from all that it is not”[15] to one in which “thanks to the notion of the virtual, the thing differs from itself in the first place, immediately.”[16] To bring this back to the example of digital networks, in the first worldview or ontology, the node says to what is beyond its limits: “You are not me”; in the second worldview, there is no such thing as me (the node) because I am already different from myself
(I am simultaneously node and outside). In terms of a Deleuzian ontology, nodes would not be said to experience life from their own subjectivity, because instead of life being the result of their subjective or interior experience, they are in the interiority of life: “Subjectivity is not ours . . . The actual is always objective, but the virtual is subjective.”[17] The subjective self is not simply in the objective world or even outside the world. On the contrary, virtuality is a metasubjectivity from which the self is generated again and again in the form of a fleeting actual objectivity. In other words, actualized nodes are but momentary objectivities, and the network is an approximation of a virtual collective or “holistic” subjectivity.

Encountering the outside of the network therefore entails a process whereby the self becomes other to itself, and is “lost” to virtuality. The virtual does not preclude the existence of the individual, but gives us “a universe where individual beings do exist, but only as the outcome of becomings.”[18] This is what Rivers refers to as the openness of being: one is not what one is, but what one is not yet.[19] This is why the digital network separates us from knowing ourselves. Our ontological vocation is to constantly reinvent ourselves, although the open-­endedness of the process of becoming terrifies us. Networks foreclose this open-­endedness.

It is through the affirmation of the immanence of virtuality that we learn to accept that the self “becomes double; both loses itself and creates itself.”[20] The ongoing movement from the virtual to the actual generates difference not just between individual things but first and foremost within the self, since the self is forever reflecting the multiplicity of the virtual. To Deleuze, there is no such thing as a completely formed, self-­sufficient identity; subjectivities and bodies are merely locations for ongoing actualizations. The outside of the network is the space where the self redeems or regains the virtuality that had been ossified in the node, where it encounters (again and again) the others within itself. The relationship between identity and difference is thus reversed: instead of a continuous and stable identity that produces multiple instances of itself through differentiation, it is differentiation itself that gives form to multiple, ever changing identities. As Colebrook states in summarizing Deleuze’s philosophy, “Life is difference: to think differently, to become different, to create differences.”[21]

These theories, although somewhat abstract, are necessary for the process of thinking and unthinking digital networks, insofar as the obstruction or the production of difference can be achieved through participatory media. Digital networks, although controlled by fewer and fewer media conglomerates, have become important public spaces, so rejecting them completely is impossible. While fighting the network with other networks might make strategic sense in some cases, ultimately it just creates more of the same (more network logic). Instead, I have been suggesting that we must unthink these networks, create alternatives to nodocentric identity. But how? We know we want something different, but we do not know what this looks like just yet. My proposed solution is that in order to unthink these networks, to arrive at different solutions, we need to intensify the digital network to the point that it negates itself. By applying strategies of network unmapping, the actualized nodes encounter the resistance of the outside, and the inequalities of the network are brought into focus. This kind of intensification pushes the logic of the network to its limits, turns it against itself, toward new possibilities for social production, participation and action different from what is actualized by the network.

STRATEGIES AND DIRECTIONS OF NETWORK DISRUPTION

Of the many options available for engaging in network disruption, let us consider three important ones. First, we should engage in an examination of the paradoxes within network logic. To unthink the digital network is to point out the inherent contradictions in their dual processuality. If the digital network increases participation while producing more inequality, if it affords more freedom while creating more opportunities for control, and if it not only makes possible more proximity but also creates more distance, then it is important that we analyze these paradoxes as a way to expose the faults in the logic of the network.

Another strategy is to engage in network parasitology. To unthink the logic of the digital network is not to refuse to confront the network, pretending it does not exist, but to reimagine one’s relationship to it. The relationship of the outside to the inside might then be like that of the parasite to the host, if we consider those arguments[22] about how the parasite inserts itself into the communication network between two nodes—­the sender and the receiver—­disrupting the flow of information by adding noise (information outside the logic of the system) and forcing the network to adjust to its presence. Network science does have at its disposal a way to talk about noninfluential or secondary nodes: if the centrality of a node can be quantifiably described through the metrics of degree, closeness, and betweenness, these measurements can also tell us how peripheral or secondary a node is within a network. What these metrics cannot tell us, however, is how the network can be disrupted by something outside the nodes and yet quite proximal to them. This model of communication can provide the grounds for a new model of identity. Communication in spite of noise is replaced by communication through noise.

One last strategy to unthink the digital network is to create paralogies. This is a term coined by Jean-­François Lyotard[23] from the Greek words para (besides, beyond) and logos (reason). For Lyotard, reason is not a universal faculty that all humans apply equally across all contexts but a subjective and variable form of knowledge production; thus, for him, paralogy is a movement against the established or conventional way of reasoning. Specifically, paralogy “concerns itself with everything that cannot be resolved within the (capitalist) system. In so doing, this form of resistance works by disrupting the instrumental logic of the modern order, producing, for example, the unknown out of the known, dissensus out of consensus, and with this generating a space for micro-­narratives that had previously been silenced.”[24] In short, paralogy is a “creative and productive resistance to totalizing metanarratives.”[25]

Paradoxes, parasites, and paralogies are thus destructive and creative forms of disrupting the network because they actualize forms of difference inside and outside the network that were previously only virtual. These forms of unmapping, of turning network logic against itself, can be achieved through different actions, such as
•    obstruction of growth in networks;
•    interference in the flow of information within networks;
•    disassembly of networks;
•    simplification (such as localization or slowing down) of processes, making large-­scale networks obsolete;
•    sabotage, which results in a loss of resources for monopolies and monopsonies;
•    misinformation, which reduces the value of social trust in networks;
•    hiding the presence of things that would otherwise be visible in the network (for instance, making web pages invisible to search engines, or anonymizing online activities);
•    revealing the presence of things that would otherwise be invisible in the network (e.g., unveiling secret documents); and
•    intensification or turning network logic unto itself until it obliterates the network, as will be discussed in the last part of the book.
Disruption can be manifested across multiple sites and contexts. We could say that it can be located nowhere, elsewhere, and everywhere.[26] As the mere expression of an idea—­such as in the pages of this book—­disruption is a utopia,[27] a nowhere that exists in a theoretical or virtual realm. But when disruption is instantiated in the form of a parasite, for example, we can say that it is a heterotopia,[28] an elsewhere, a site where exceptional conditions from those of the surrounding system apply. Furthermore, to the extent that every node has an outside, disruption is also an atopia:[29] it is borderless, which means it is everywhere. Network disruption can evolve as the pursuit of theory or as the application of strategies based on the observation of different network actualizations.

Apart from strategies for disrupting the network, we also need directions in which to apply these strategies. Disruption can upset the established order of the network by providing an escape or retreat from the network, by providing a way of reversing network processes, or by standing still in the face of networked progress. Concerning retreat, Virno pointed out that to escape is not to passively avoid conflict: “The breeding ground of disobedience does not lie exclusively in the social conflicts which express protest, but, and above all, in those which express defection . . . Nothing is less passive than the act fleeing, of exiting.”[30] Thus any mechanism that allows the subject to escape the digital network by claiming an identity separate from the network is a way to engage in disruption.

Concerning reversal, Langdon Winner said that technology is a “license to forget”[31]; as it makes new actions possible, the old way of doing things is forgotten or the resources necessary to do things without the technology become lost. We can think of these licenses to forget as foldings. Any approach that allows us to question the impact of technology on the world and explore ways in which the unintended effect of technology’s foldings can be reversed is a way to introduce a discussion of morals into our use of technology, as Latour argues: “To maintain the reversibility of foldings: that is the current form that moral concern takes in its encounter with technology. We find it everywhere now in the notion of a recyclable product, of sustainable development, of the traceability of the operations of production, in the ever stronger concern for transparency.”[32]

When it comes to technology, reversibility is ethics put into practice. If producing large quantities of paper is depleting our forests, the least we can do is to try to reverse the effects through recycling and consider whether this correction will be sufficient. In the same manner, the social benefits that digital networks bring can be assessed and if necessary (i.e., if there are too many unintended negative outcomes) reversed or unmapped. To this effect, unmapping can also serve as the site for nonaction or stillness vis-­à-­vis the network. Here again Latour reminds us that the critical questioning of technology is about considering the value of slowness, about “preventing too ready an access to ends.”[33] This inversion can uncover forces and actors that stand in opposition to network logic.

The goal of these strategies and directions, however, is not to collect and arrange networked or unnetworked subjects into “better” networks but to recognize their diversity, agency, and responsibility. The following inquiries into sites of unmapping attempt to uncover the freedom—­and also the tragedy—­that exists in the disassembly of networks.


  1. See Thierer and Eskelsen, Media Metrics, 18, exhibit 4.
  2. Terranova, Network Culture; Lovink, Zero Comments; Dean, Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies; Rossiter, Organized Networks; Andrejevic, iSpy; Morozov, The Net Delusion; Hands, @ Is For Activism; Galloway and Thacker, The Exploit.
  3. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 58.
  4. Latour, Reassembling the Social, 207.
  5. Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation.
  6. DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, 4.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze, 71.
  9. DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, 56.
  10. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 208.
  11. Ibid., 211.
  12. DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, 6.
  13. Deleuze, Negotiations 1972–­1990, 95.
  14. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, xix.
  15. Deleuze, “Bergson’s Conception of Difference,” 53.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Deleuze, Cinema 2, 82–­83.
  18. DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, 106.
  19. Rivers, Contra Technologiam, 106.
  20. Ansell-­Pearson, Philosophy and the Adventure of the Virtual, 184.
  21. Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze, 13.
  22. See Serres, The Parasite; Crocker, “Noises and Exceptions.”
  23. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition.
  24. Gane, “Computerized Capitalism,” 438.
  25. Readings, Introducing Lyotard, 73–­74.
  26. I am taking a cue here from McKenzie Wark, who discusses some aspects of video game narrative in terms of utopia, heterotopia, and atopia. Wark, Gamer Theory.
  27. From the Greek ou or not and tóp or place.
  28. From the Greek héteros or different. For more on heterotopias, see Foucault, “Of Other Spaces.”
  29. Here, the prefix a-­ suggests without.
  30. Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude, 70.
  31. Winner, Autonomous Technology, 315.
  32. Latour and Venn, “Morality and Technology,” 258.
  33. Ibid., 257.