Amy Alexander on Tue, 31 Jul 2001 07:20:11 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> sig translation

On Thu, 19 Jul 2001, geert lovink wrote:

<quoting my sig>:
> > Recontextualizing script-kiddyism as net-art for over 1/20 of a century.
> that's a great line. but then how do you respond to rop's posting to the
> script kiddies (the text patrice ffw)? maybe it's better to proclaim it
> as it is to label sk hacktivism? (if you could answer on list that
> would be great)

i thought rop's text to the HAL script kiddies:
which basically said, "don't show up at HAL and start breaking into systems 
from there..." was right on... lets hope they take it to heart...

but the reference to script-kiddyism in my sig is an acknowledgment of the
"other side" of script kiddies... not the famous end result of breaking
into computers for no good reason, but rather the amateurist means to the
end. a lot of script kiddies' bad rep comes from more experienced
crackers, who are disdainful of the script kiddies because they don't
really understand what they're doing (technically), don't write their own
exploits, and merely work from freely available scripts to break into
systems. but i think this attitude is a bit of technical elitism and
auteurism. starting from others' work is how people learn - and most
successful script kiddies discover they do need to figure some things
out/apply some of their own elbow grease to the code they've downloaded to
actually make a break-in happen (and leave some backdoors, and set up
their warez site on the owned server, and....)

this copy/paste/adapt method is how a lot of programmers learn, and if you
think about it, it's even part of open source philosophy, the GPL, etc.
(i.e. you can copy and modify things, just credit what you copied and what
you modified. and don't bother reinventing the wheel; there are more
important things to do.) it also allows emphasis to be placed on the
aesthetics of the concept, not the authorship of the code itself.

back to - a lot of the projects there are dynamic - and
when i wanted to start doing those (back in 1846 or so), i was clueless
about perl, but i knew that with unix i could piece together various
scripts to get them to do what i wanted.  because i had to adapt things to
my specific situation, i learned largely through reverse engineering.
gradually i got more proficient and so as time went on i wound up writing
more things from scratch, but still, one has to admit that one copies from
one's own earlier code, at least, even when programming "from scratch."

so a lot of the projects on are built from this script-kiddie 
mentality of copy/paste/adapt-to-new-situation/learn-something, or to put 
another way, hack the old to make something new... (if you think about it, 
this is not so different than visually-produced work - for example, an artist 
might use photoshop to make an image, so in effect, they've used photoshop 
code in their image making. but now we get into adrian ward's territory - i.e.  ... many of the projects
actually tie together several scripts; maybe we call that "script
collaging... "

anyway, thus the sig, in sympathy with the script kiddie.

optional reading:
"The Death and Rebirth of Plagiarism"

note, i don't entirely agree with above-mentioned essay. in particular, it 
seems to imply that plagiarism and original thought are generally mutually-
exclusive - i definitely think that's not the case. (maybe it's another one 
of these cases of differentiating the authorship of the "code" of texts from 
the aesthetics of the way they are combined and reused. <shrug>)


Recontextualizing script-kiddyism as net-art for over 1/20 of a century.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: