The Intersection of Culture Jamming, Hacking, and Hacktivism

Presented at The Last HOPE (2008), July 20, 2008, 11 a.m. (90 minutes)

Over the past nearly 20 years, the Internet has proved to be fertile ground for projects that raise awareness, question authority, and inspire social cohesion. Culture jamming, hacking, and hacktivism have helped provoke changes in the technical, cultural, and political aspects of our society. This panel aims to provide an overview of these techniques through examples of some of the more memorable projects. Starting with the manipulation of voicemail services and leading up to denial of service attacks on government web servers, the panel will cover how these projects were organized and executed as well as the reaction that they inspired. This 90 minute panel will also include a discussion section (with audience participation encouraged) where they will contemplate what use these techniques have in light of the quickly changing Internet and digital media landscapes.


  • Mark Hosler
    Mark Hosler is a founding member of Negativland. Since 1980, the band has been creating records, CDs, video, fine art, books, radio, and live performance using appropriated sound, image, and text. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland rearranges these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural archaeology and "culture jamming" (a term they coined way back in 1984), Negativland has been sued twice for copyright infringement. Over the years, Negativland's "illegal" collage and appropriation-based audio and visual works have touched on many things - pranks, media hoaxes, advertising, media literacy, the evolving art of collage, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, creative anti-corporate activism in a media saturated multinational world, file sharing, intellectual property issues, wacky surrealism, evolving notions of art and ownership and law in a digital age, and artistic and humorous observations of mass media and mass culture.
  • Bernardo Attias
    Bernardo Attias is professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge. His research focus emphasizes cultural approaches to communication studies as well as communication-centered approaches to cultural studies. He has written on media coverage of the war in the Gulf, the politics of psychoanalysis, the rhetoric and politics of hip-hop culture, and the drug war. His current work focuses on the legal, aesthetic, and cultural implications of the turntable. He has also been a DJ for over twenty years and is an active participant in DJ culture.
  • Ricardo Dominguez
    Ricardo Dominguez is a cofounder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group who developed Virtual-Sit-In technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. He was codirector of The Thing (, an ISP for artists and activists from 2000 to 2004, as well as senior editor from 1996 to 1999. He is a former member of Critical Art Ensemble. Ricardo's performances have been presented in museums, galleries, theater festivals, hacker meetings, tactical media events, and as direct actions on the streets and around the world. His recent Electronic Disturbance Theater project with Brett Stabaum, Micha Cardenas, and Jason Najarro (�The Transborder Immigrant Tool� - a GPS cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/U.S. border) was the winner of the Transnational Communities Award. He is an assistant professor at UCSD in the visual arts department and is also a principal/principle investigator at the new edge technology institute CALIT2 ( where he will be researching and developing a performance project in collaboration with artists Diane Ludin, Nina Waisman, and Amy Sara Carroll on nanotechnology entitled �Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market� ( that was presented in Berlin (2007) and the San Diego Museum of Art (2008).
  • Steev Hise
    Steev Hise is a filmmaker, activist, and artist who recently stopped being a computer geek. He is the founder of, a now mostly inactive website established in 1997 to be a haven for artists and scholars who practice or study artistic appropriation, cultural recycling, or what some call culture jamming. Steev hates when people call themselves �copyright criminals� or �pirates.�
  • Fred Church
    Fred Church is the sole member of Kumquat, a sample-driven electronic music act. Kumquat samples sounds from scratchy old records, field recordings of street musicians, conversations with friends, and historic speeches. Kumquat appeared on The Droplift Project, the well-known music CD and culture jamming experiment, as well as the We Bore compilation on Toast and Jam records - where each artist created music they like by sampling music they hate. The second full-length Kumquat album, Similar To Sugar Pill, was recently released on Tangy Citrus records, and is available for free to those who ask.
  • %20
    %20 is a corporate shill, consumer whore, wannabe cultural chimera, part time music fan and maker of sounds in the plunderphonic glitch noise category. %20 is not known for anything significant but is the definitive drafter of the Snuggles New Media Collective official �Free Speech For Sale� affiliate program agreement disclosure.
  • Tim Maloney
    Tim Maloney is an artist, animator, and filmmaker from Los Angeles who has worked extensively in media and print. He has collaborated with culture jammers, Negativland, and was the curator of Snuggles Collective's "Droplift Project."
  • Phineas Narco
    Phineas Narco is proprietor of The National Cynical Network and was a member of a voicemail community in California's Silicon Valley, which spontaneously arose there shortly before the advent of the world wide web. Members of this voice mail (or �voicejail�) community would use voice mailbox systems as a means of social networking and creative expression, much in the way blogs and websites are used on the Internet today. These �voicejailers� would often create collages out of audio media, mixing them with recordings of incoming voice mail messages. The resultant mixes would then be placed on their outgoing greetings, to then be recorded and used by other members of the community, creating an underground media-sharing phone culture. Phineas now hosts "Midnight Voicejail" broadcasts which document this pre-web voice mailbox scene by presenting actual recordings from it. Phineas has also performed with members of Negativland, mostly on Negativland's radio show Over the Edge, and is a reclusive yet prominent figure in the Church of the Subgenius.
  • Pan
    Pan is the founder of the Sensory Research Network, a virtual home for engineers, designers, and artists dedicated to providing useful tools, services, and ideas to augment human interaction. SRN is also host to the various projects of the Snuggles Collective and the audio archive for the Church of the Subgenius Hour of Slack. Pan is the creator and host of the long running technology radio show Interactive Technologies. He has been participating in culture jamming for nearly 20 years in various forms from image collage, audio collage, and screening to cultural pranks.


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