Anthropology of Hacking

  • April 15, 2019
  • // Technology and Society

Reading Notes


  • Hackteria

  • Besetzes Haus Bremgarten

  • Kochareal


  • Venue to be in the urban flow, communication, infrastructure, venue to convene, produce, teach, learn, mediate

  • Activism takes place in the real world, in the workshop, as well as on the computer.

  • autonomous movement and media activism

  • politically influenced

  • youth culture - opernhauskrawalle

  • mass direct action

  • protest > critical mass, environment protest, klimastreik

  • emancipation > space outside the ‘system’

  • Media activism > radio, computer, internet

  • I find core strength: “lowering the barriers of participation for cultural and technological production”

  • “stress the importance of information in the mechanism of social change” not in the scene, hard to find access to the scene lack of knowledge? just a movement?

Feminist Hackerspaces

  • Different workflow than in corporate labs
  • disrupting common policies
  • Openness as a strategy to keep ideas in circulation, facilitate environment for growth and creativity, empowerment
  • providing tech answers to open source culture evolving around it
  • open source culture > decentralised, facilitate open access to knowledge, culture production
  • open source community creates ideas and innovations at a faster speed
  • Hackerspace as physical representation of open source culture
  • Toni-Areal provides an infrastructure, that most will realise what value it has after they leave
  • “The 3D printer, in this sense, is a very simple cyborg, representing an identity between machine and organism”
  • “Information alone does not foster democratisation of production; it is about the culture evolving around it”
  • Hackerspace as initial search for space to withdraw from authoritarian repression, taking back control over the tools of production, production of workforce and human resources. To work in cooperative, non repressive way on technical problems
  • “And because the counterculture, hippie frame of reference was there for outlaws of all kinds, it basically swept right through the outlaw computer people, the hackers, and became their frame of reference, and a kind of a gift-economy, optimistic approach became then the basis for personal computers, personal computer software, then the Internet, and the web”
  • Output of the ‘indie’ movement, that became integrated in capitalism, has only been possible in the first place because of a basic wealth > money provided for the hacking scene in the first place

    • Like open source software, one needs to have a certain knowledge to work with the software
  • Hackerspace, the space becomes an agent of its own. Its a structure, that produces structures with agency on their own

Hacker Practice

  • hacking, using tech, as an expression of self
  • technology as central to their sense - making and using technolgy
  • technical activity as vehicle for self-fashioning and self-expression
  • actions tie into broader value system, the computer reveals itself as means to realize cultural values such as independence, freedom, education
  • hacker practice make socially relevant questions visible, their action take form of manifestos, games, etc

Class Notes

  • Hacking humans > Social Engineering

  • Notion of rite passage > demonstrating your belonging to a group by ‘hacking’ something

  • Hacking scene wants to include, opposed to e.g. Java, that excludes through high knowledge-barrier

  • Hacking scene can be intimidating without the knowledge or midset to enter it > Hackteria

  • Metalab > ‘new’ hackerspace that aims to be super open

  • Best teachers are not expert. Expert lack the empathy to relate to other people. The best ones are the ones who learned everything from scratch.

  • Hacking > ‘hacking’, gaining access to the room where the computer was, as early computers did not have logins and passwords

  • Phil Zimmermann (Cryptographer)

  • Open cryptography for everyone (allowed for e-commerce) in 1990

  • Exercise critical questioning

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