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Gold farmers… whatever…

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Alexander Galloway – The interface effect

A specter haunts the world of digital games, the specter of the “Chinese gold farmer.” But who is this shadowy figure? The Chinese gold farmer is a gamer who plays online video games day and night in order to earn virtual gold and sell it for real money. Journalists and researchers have stalked this elusive pirate around the world, uncovering computer rooms in China stocked with young gamers toiling in meager conditions for inferior pay!” (pp.121) …

… “The Whatever in question here relates to singularity not in its indifference with respect to a common property (to a concept, for example: being red, being French, being Muslim), but only in its being such as it is.” [… ] “Whatever is the figure of pure singularity. Whatever singularity has no identity, it is not determinate with respect to a concept, but neither is it simply indeterminate; rather it is determined only through its relation to an idea, that is, to the totality of its possibilities.”* The whatever follows a logic of belonging (x such that it belongs to y), not a logic of predication (x is defined through y, or more simply, x is y) […] The trick of the whatever is thus to abstain from the assignation of traits, to abstain from the system of biopolitical predication, to abstain from the bagging and tagging of bodies. (pp.139-140)

* Here Galloway quotes from Girogio Agamben’s The coming community, 1993 (It is important to note Agamben’s understanding of “whatever” not as being indifference but based on the Latin translation of “being such that it always matters”.)

Galloway, A. (2012). The interface effect. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.

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