Alessandra Renzi – Hacked Transmissions, Technology and Connective Activism in Italy


University of Minnesota Press, ISBN: 978-1517903268, English, 258 pages, 2020, USA

In Hacked Transmissions, Alessandra Renzi writes about Italian “connective activism”, which involves appropriating and recombining technologies at different levels and in different contexts. She does this with agency and a personal experience in this field. Her participation in some of the movements, especially the extensively discussed “insu^tv” and the long-running telestreets, sometimes brings first-person descriptions, always along with the emergence and framing of their issues. Early chapters deal with the utopian telestreets (street television) movement, alongside the work of Franco “Bifo” Berardi and creative autonomy in 1970s Bologna, with a particular focus on the unique media experiments Radio Alice and A/traverso zine, as well as parallel feminist endeavours. This is followed by a comprehensive reconstruction of the aggressive communication strategies of Silvio Berlusconi and his business and media empire, and the imaginative use of fax grids and computer networks in the nationwide university squatters’ movement “La Pantera” (the Panther) in 1990. We are then introduced to the political hacker platforms of the early Internet, including the projects. Renzi refers to international contexts when necessary and explores these different situations over time, putting together a passionate and detailed account of Italian media politics and activism.