Otto Von Busch, Karl Palms – Abstract Hacktivism: The Making of a Hacker Culture

Otto Von Busch

book – Openmute – ISBN 9780955479625
Hacktivism needs theory to evolve continuously from a practice based concept to an abstract tool for inducing substantial changes in economy and society. But can the hacker paradigmatic revolution be considered a cultural shift similar to the one triggered in culture and society in 1968? Even if that would seem too much, there’s more and more the feeling of hacking as a firm basis for a new start. The implied science/humanities relationship is analyzed here starting from the consideration that: “as new types of machines enter the social world, they may end up changing our ways of seeing the world.” The relationship with previous books concerned with hacking as a paradigm (namely A Hacker Manifesto or The Hacker Ethic) is a dialogue, sometimes commenting or trying to go beyond their thesis. The two authors split the book in two complementary texts. Otto von Busch gives a fascinating hacking definition “bending the flows of power, but keeping the current on”, investigating how it affected production, literature and religion. But his analysis is deeper and definitely inspired systematizing different acknowledged hacking practices (not involving computers) he draws an impressive mediascape of possibilities, already coded but rarely linked together before. Karl Palmas, instead, focuses on what he calls ‘open innovation’, or the FLOSS consequences on management, society, and more in general on the cultural shift towards a globalized, shared, anti-establishment way of thinking fostered by the culture, Wired and similar new media culture agencies. The two essays together push new energy into the ‘hacker’ as a cultural shifter concept. New abstracted and liberated practice to hack the system are just to be discovered, linked and shared, reinforcing a change in how to approach reality that most of us had already absorbed.