Creative Hacktivism

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Seminar presented at BOM (Birmingham Open Media) in collaboration with the Centre for Disruptive Media, Coventry University

Tuesday 24th June, 10.30am – 5.30pm

FREE but places strictly limited and must be booked in advanced through Eventbrite

Hacker ethics and cultures have inspired some of the most innovative digital developments, from Apple’s design to the very fabric of the Internet’s infrastructure. In this one-day seminar The Centre for Disruptive Media in collaboration with BOM will critically explore the rise of ‘hacktivism’ and its close relationship with creative practice. Hacktivism, described as “politically motivated hacking” by cultural theorist Tim Jordan, is an approach increasingly used by creative practitioners such as artists, software designers and synthetic biologists to probe ethical problems in a digital context.

This seminar fuses debates around creative practice and hacktivism by exploring artists and digital provocateurs who, through activism and digital interventions, have disturbed artistic, political and ethical boundaries to, among other things, increase public debate and extend critical thinking in these areas. Invited speakers and practitioners will present radical interventions that have highlighted urgent contemporary issues around privacy, surveillance, bio-ethics and the pursuit of ‘free’ information. This seminar will also explore the attempts of ‘bio-hackers’ who have worked with biological materials and who want to disturb and radically re-think, through artistic means, what it is to be human in posthuman times. Finally, this seminar will examine artists who have intervened in the way we produce, disseminate and communicate information through books and data. Book hacks disturb the book in this respect to trigger a re-thinking of its materiality and use as well as the infrastructures and political-economies that currently accompany the book in both print and digital formats.

The seminar will take place in BOM’s new space at 1 Dudley Street, Birmingham B5 4EG prior to the building’s refurbishment and BOM’s launch this autumn.


Janneke Adema – Research Fellow (Digital Media) Coventry University
Gina Czarnecki – Artist
Gary Hall – Director of the Centre for Disruptive Media, Coventry University
Mishka Henner – Artist
Tim Jordan – Professor of Digital Cultures at King’s College London
Alessandro Ludovico – Artist, media critic and editor in chief of Neural magazine
Marcell Mars – Free software advocate, cultural explorer and social instigator
Karen Newman – Research Fellow (Digital Media) Coventry University / Director of BOM
Robert M Ochshorn – Artist
Eleanor Saitta – Hacker, designer, artist, writer, barbarian
Stephanie de Smale – Researcher in the Open Wetlab, Amsterdam
Lily Wales – Artist
Pete Woodbridge – Artist and Senior Lecturer in Open Media at Coventry University


10.30 – 11.00 Arrival and coffee

11.00 – 11.15 Opening Address, Karen Newman

11.15 – 11.45 Keynote Presentation: Dr Tim Jordan
11.45 – 12.15 Keynote Presentation: Eleanor Saitta
12.15 – 12.45 Keynote Presentation: Dr Alessandro Ludovico

12.45 – 13.15 Q&A and Discussion

13.15 – 14.00 Break for lunch (please note lunch will not be provided)

14.00 – 15.00 Media Hackers: Presentations and Discussion
Mishka Henner, Pete Woodbridge, Lily Wales (chaired by Karen Newman)

15.00 – 16.00 Bio-Hackers: Presentations and Discussion
Stephanie de Smale, Gina Czarnecki (chaired by Gary Hall)

16.00 – 17.00 Book Hackers: Presentations and Discussion
Robert M Ochshorn, Marcell Mars (chaired by Janneke Adema)