McKenzie Wark

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= Wark is the author of the Hacker Manifesto, Molecular Red and other books about re-inventing radical modernity


* Alexander R. Galloway: Critical theory tends to subdue biography, but I’d like you to reflect on your own trajectory as a thinker. Your last few books all fit together. How do you conceive of the project that began with The Beach Beneath the Street (2011), and continues through The Spectacle of Disintegration (2013), up to Molecular Red (2015)? It’s a story about the Situationist International, to be sure, but your story is both broader and longer than the specific locus of the S.I. Did you set out to rewrite the history of radical modernity? What stories do you want to tell next?

McKenzie Wark: I would include A Hacker Manifesto (2004) and Gamer Theory (2007) in that trajectory. Those books are already about the mode of production after capitalism that runs on information. The former was a more optimistic book about the new kinds of class conflict that could shape it; the latter a more pessimistic one about its new modes of incorporation and control. But I felt that nobody was quite getting the alternate path through the archive those books implied. So I decided to write some more pedagogic books that laid out the resources one could use to “leave the twenty-first century.”

That led to the three books you mentioned plus another to come that are indeed a cycle about rewriting radical modernity. Not that this is the only alternate path through the archive, but it’s an attempt to suggest a different relation to the archive in general, to see it as a labyrinth rather than an apostolic succession; a kind of “no-dads” theory, but full of queer uncles and batty aunts.

Molecular Red has a bit about the moment of the October Revolution, rethought through Bogdanov and Platonov. Then, second in the sequence, would come the one I haven’t finished, about the British scientific left, the original accelerationists and cyberfeminists. That covers the 1930s – ’50s. Then The Beach Beneath the Street, which reads the situationists as radical theory, not art, and expands the story beyond Guy Debord. The Spectacle of Disintegration continues that dérive through the archive by way of the post-’68 moment. What to do when the revolution fails? As a book-end, there is the last part of Molecular Red about Donna Haraway, but read as a marxist as well as feminist thinker, a reading I then take through a cluster of people with Haraway-affinities." (

More information

Excerpt on: Low Theory