Hirshhorn Plaza

Lunch Bytes: Activism and Hacker CultureWednesday, November 14, 2012
12–2 pm
Washington DC

  • Hans Bernhard, founding member of UBERMORGEN.COM
  • Steven Kurtz, Chair and Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo, founding member of Critical Art Ensemble
  • Frank Rieger, spokesperson Chaos Computer Club, Berlin
  • Mark Tribe, New York-based artist, founder of Rhizome, Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media Studies at Brown University

The internet has had an enormous influence on global activism and protest movements, and has itself spawned various new forms of activist practice, most notably hacker culture. How has political activism, in the broadest sense of the term, been transformed by new media technologies such as the internet and mobile telecommunications networks? What new opportunities and pitfalls have arisen with the emergence of digital media? Does Michel de Certeau’s influential distinction between ‘strategies’ vs. ‘tactics’ still hold any conceptual or practical value? Net-based activism is accumulating an extensive and varied history: from online petitioning and the open source movement, to political blogs, the use of Twitter and other platforms for the real-time organization and publication of ongoing protests, to more illicit phenomena such as ‘hacktivism’, Anonymous and Wikileaks. How have political and economic elites, such as (inter)national governmental bodies and multinational corporations, responded to these digital forms of protest and defiance? How has artistic practice contributed to digital activism and to what extent can hackers and other net-based activists be considered artists themselves? Is there a particular critical aesthetic that has emerged with digital protest movements and web-based insurrectional practices?

RSVP for this event to rsvp@washington.goethe.org