Some more quick responses to Alexander Galloway's book Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (2004) (about 3/4 read, just want to jot this down before it passes out of my brain)
1. The book assumes we are post-art, that "life" has now become art, and protocol* controls both. (*TCP/IP, html, etc--the book carefully explains to the layman how all these things work and how data circulates around the Web)
2. The best discussions so far are (a) AG's sarcastic recitation of "standards of seamless continuity" (not a quote but that's the concept) that make web surfing so seductive (pp 64-69) and (b) the discussion of viruses and cyberfeminism (pp 176-196) as oppositional strategies (interesting that those are in the same chapter). Deliberately oppositional in the case of the latter and de facto oppositional in the case of the former.
3. As I mentioned in the last post I think bricks (courthouses, corporate headquarters, army bunkers) still trump clicks in our society so I wouldn't go nearly so far in ascribing to protocol the powers of social control that AG does. Also, I don't agree we are post-art, and am more interested in the ways protocol is changing existing expression, such as:
--a certain type of person thrives on TV (Chris Matthews) but is a clown in the blogosphere where his words and gestures can be unpacked. Similarly someone like Atrios wields tremendous influence as a blogger because of a certain protocological skill set (I keep reading that word as "proctological" in AG's book).
--Writers who are terse, funny, and can use images (certain bloggers) have an edge over print writers that take longer to set up a story.
--Music, also, will potentially change to an inverted pyramid form where the strongest (melodic, rhythmic) content occurs in the first 20 seconds to get the casual .mp3 surfer hooked.
--A certain kind of sculptural one-liner that looks good on the "curation sites" potentially assumes larger importance.
Since the book was written (2004) we have seen a greater retreat from the endless circularity of the open Web in favor of online gated communities where Biff and Muffy can be among their own kind and have a nice set of multiple choice options to work with (liberal, conservative, libertarian, other). This is a mass, conscious rejection of protocological (lack of) control in favor of older forms of disciplinary control (building with security cam and doorman).
More when I finish. Previous notes.