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Interview with McKenzie Wark of *A Hacker Manifesto*

Courting Vectoralists: An Interview with McKenzie Wark on the 10 Year Anniversary of “A Hacker Manifesto” – Los Angeles Review of Books

“To hack” has always been an ambivalent term — that’s what I like about it. There have been good and bad sides to it for a long time. … On one side, the guys in suits want to think they are “hackers”, as in creators of new spaces of possibility.

“Creators of new spaces of possibility.” What a lovely—and appropriate—definition of “hacking”.

To me, a hacker is someone who turns information — of any kind — into intellectual property. Hence, programmers can be hackers, but so too can scientists, artists, writers, designers, and so on. It’s about how these disparate kinds of concrete activity end up in the same abstract form — as “intellectual property.”

[…]

If we are talking about the overdeveloped world, of Europe, the United States, and Japan, these are economies in a state of prolonged stasis. There’s not much going on apart from rent-gouging a few more pennies and transferring them upwards. So there’s a whole generation for which there just aren’t a lot of real jobs. Of course, we should all be working like mad to transition to a post-carbon economy, but we’re not. It’s just one bubble after another. It’s the most embarrassingly underperforming ruling class in centuries.

[…]

I just reviewed Béatriz Préciado’s book Testo Junkie, which is a great account of what s/he even calls “gender hacking.” S/he took testosterone for a year and not only documented it but conceptualized it. If all our bodies are now running on an operating system made up of synthetic hormones and mood regulators, then let’s just admit there is no “natural” body and get on with a politics of cooperatively hacking the privatization of fresh-tech by the pharmaceutical industries and others. I gestured in A Hacker Manifesto very glancingly to that whole dimension, but Préciado really fleshes it out — so to speak. So yes, there are queer or even post-queer practices that are really key here.

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