“Hacking the City” is an innovative project reacting to changing structures in the public, mobility and communication in the city. How will public life, democratic culture and modern resistance be articulated in art? Which forms will be used, which can be revived, which models can artists and activists follow?
How can a city’s resources be reacquired for active citizens and for individual use? Artistic, communicative and creative means are used to develop a critique of a consumer culture which defines the city, of the rule of advertising, democratic indifference and an increasing privatization of public space.
Among the types of actions are strategies of “Adbusting” as well as “Faking” (or plagerism), adding in and taking away (misappropriation), irritation and disruption, forms of Hacktivism, Flash Mob actions, re-enactments, performances, sculpture in public space, concealed investigations, hidden actions, events directed via internet or mobile phones. These apply no longer only to urban (exterior) space as places of actions and work, but also to the World Wide Web (home pages, video platforms, power sellers, servers etc….). Participants are artists, nerds, web-designers, communications guerrillas, street artists, performers and musicians.
“Urban Hacking” became increasingly widespread as an artistic practice in the 90s. Starting point for this artistic strategy were political, social as well as purely creative themes. In America, “Hacktivism” was initially more visible than in Europe. Groups like the “Adbusters” organized large campaigns against American companies and media conglomerates, provoked their fellow citizens’ consumer habits, or presented theater pieces in front of security cameras. In Europe too, a ‘cultural practise’ of subversive strategies has developed throughout different artistic genres and age groups. They follow the logic of hackers: entering into other systems, finding their way around and then introducing applications that change or expand that system’s limits and utility.
“Hacking the City” means a non-recognition and a making apparent limits and seeks to make them perceptible and tangible. “Hacking the City” wants to surprise, irritate, bother, amaze and have fun.
Catalogue of the exhibition