Jaromil on Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:15:03 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The Gentrification of Hacking: How yuppies hacked the

dear Brett,

your essay is brilliant and obvious at the same time. I did enjoy
reading it, but still feels like scratching the surface as it does not
dig into other historical examples of cultural gentrification.

It may go well along the read of Gambiarra by Felipe Fonseca
http://efeefe.no-ip.org/livro/repair-culture/gambiarra commenting on how
we started back in the '90s with an idea of DIY recycling and we ended
up with a "makers movement" which is producing even more waste than the
industry was doing back then. What a Regretsy.

However. All the way while InI were realizing we were hackers (and that
there was a definition for us) it was always clear that we share a lot
with journalists and investigators, something that Julian Assange made
extremely evident at last. Hackers, journalists and investigators are
all liminal figures, as Yuri Lotman puts it, and with liminal I don't
mean to say we are necessarily marginal.

My question is then: how a liminal cultural role can survive the
gentrification? I believe there are differences from other gentrified
cultural movements because of the nature of such a role - and because of
the value that always lies beyond the well-known limits.

Back in 2004 and feeling strong while holding my toolbox I did went into
middle-east war zones to cross the limits and understand what's beyond
the propaganda machine. Other hackers today are still making the choice
to cross the border of a westernized semiosphere made of bore and hype.
For instance some are in Rojava as we speak, active organizing a support
network that can operate on the field, or have deleted all traces of
themselves and joined the Cooperativa Integral of Catalunya to reach
independence from capitalism.

This is all so difficult to communicate, in the middle of the
gentrification you describe, which is probably more evident in USA and
less in EU where the yuppie culture you mention is mostly an import.

So lets just keep in mind that the Hollywood machinery is -as always-
not the reality and that there are tribes of hackers that are explicitly
refusing  that route, whose choices are or may be in the future
different from what you describe. Of course there are plenty of former
activists turned yuppies, even among nettimers here, yet that doesn't
means that a cultural movement which is naturally incline to crossing
limits will be killed by gentrification. Even this hacker whose life
nowadays almost resembles that of a yuppie still manages to contribute
some critical sense at times :^)

For the gentrifying machine of hyped finance there will soon be a new
hype - oy vey I really can't wait for them to move on.


Denis "Jaromil" Roio, Dyne.org Think (& Do) Tank
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