<MoneyLab> David Golumbia, In Memoriam

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Fri Sep 15 16:30:03 CEST 2023

Here, at the Institute of Network Cultures, we're sad to hear of the passing of David Golumbia on September 14, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia (USA). We got to know David Golumbia right after the publication of his 2009 book The Cultural Logic of Computation, which he wrote after he worked as a software designer for a decade. It contains, for instance, a critique of computalionalist linguistics, which he saw as “ideological programs, driven by a furious need to show that computers can take over language, that language itself can be formalised, and that those parts of human experience that cannot be formalized, and so are difficult to control mechanically, are also of little value or interest.” For some it is still a shock that computers are cultural. And that ‘computatialism' is an ideology with certain cultural and political agendas.

A few years later David applied political individualism to Bitcoin and the emerging crypto scene. He was the first to analyze the core of Bitcoin protocols and code as an essential right-wing liberatarian project. At this point more people started to become familiar with his work. David was one of the speakers of the first MoneyLab conference in Amsterdam in April 2014 (https://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/MoneyLab_Conference_Report_2014.pdf). He reworked his speech for the first MoneyLab Reader in an essay called Bitcoin as Politics: Distributed Right-Wing Extremism (https://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/moneylab-reader-an-intervention-in-digital-economy/). This all was gathered in a small but concise booklet called The Politics of Bitcoin, Software as Right-Wing Extremism (2016), which became a classic. It is said that his new book entitled Cyberlibertarianism is due to come out shortly. Here a videolecture of David from 2022 about the same topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4pmXl4RCcE.

David, sail on, we’ll continue your work the best we can.

Patricia de Vries & Geert Lovink

See also: https://paulbove.wordpress.com/2023/09/14/david-golumbia-a-good-friend-lost/  
A Tech Won’t Save Us podcast with David Golumbia: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bitcoin-is-a-right-wing-technology-w-david-golumbia/id1507621076?i=1000527479326
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