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Hacking Mindsets: Conceptual Approaches to Transmission Art, Improvisation, Circuitbending, and Gaming Technology

Saturday, July 14, 2012: 12:00 pm (Nutt): In Richard Stallman's "On Hacking" from 2000, he addresses the stigma attached to the notion of "hacker," while clarifying the act of hacking as a creative mindset that encourages playful/clever exploration of established cultural forms, from eating utensils to practical jokes, as opposed to methods for security breach. Beyond the more obvious examples of hacking, Stallman applies this mindset to two specific music compositions: "Ma Fin Est Mon Commencement" by 14th century French composer Guillaume de Machaut and "4'33" by 20th century American avant-garde composer John Cage. The former is a palindromic music composition important to the development of polyphonic music and the latter is a composition written without musical notes. By referring to these two innovations as hacks more then music compositions, Stallman makes a cultural connection between hackers and artists - that hacking is innately creative. This presentation/demonstration will examine the notion of hacking and its connections to composer John Cage, music improvisation, and re-purposed instrumentation including radios and transmitters as instruments, circuitbent instruments, and the DIY aspect of software and hardware instruments in the demo and chip music scenes.

Hosted by Tamara Yadao, Nicole Carroll, and Joshua Kopstein