Synopses & Reviews
A double is haunting the world the double of abstraction, the virtual reality of information, programming or poetry, math or music, curves or colorings upon which the fortunes of states and armies, companies and communities now depend. The bold aim of this book is to make manifest the origins, purpose, and interests of the emerging class responsible for making this new world; for producing the new concepts, new perceptions, and new sensations out of the stuff of raw data. McKenzie Wark's A Hacker Manifesto deftly defines the fraught territory between the ever more strident demands by drug and media companies for protection of their patents and copyrights and the pervasive popular culture of file sharing and pirating. This vexed ground, the realm of so-called "intellectual property," gives rise to a whole new kind of class conflict, one that pits the creators of information, the hacker class of researchers and authors, artists and biologists, chemists and musicians, philosophers and programmers, against a possessing class who would monopolize what the hacker produces. Drawing in equal measure on Guy Debord and Gilles Deleuze, A Hacker Manifesto offers a systematic restatement of Marxist thought for the age of cyberspace and globalization. In the widespread revolt against commodified information, McKenzie Wark sees a utopian promise, beyond the property form, and a new progressive class, the hacker class, who voice a shared interest in a new information commons.
Wark's ideas about open-source culture, environmentalism, and the politics of information exchange are fresh enough to merit real attention. A Hacker Manifesto...might incite a genuinely important conversation about the shape of the future. -- Eric J. Iannelli - Times Literary Supplement
McKenzie Wark's aptly named and timely A Hacker Manifestois a remarkably original and passionate clarion call to question the increasing commodification of information in our digital age. The book is elegantly designed and written in a highly aphoristic style that evokes the grand essay tradition of Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin and Friedrich Nietzsche...A Hacker Manifestois indispensable reading for anyone who wishes to understand the multiplying complexities of digital culture. It is itself an example of hacking: forging a new world out of the ruins of the present one. -- Steven Shaviro - Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies
McKenzie Wark's A Hacker Manifestomight also be called, without too much violence to its argument, The Communist Manifesto 2.0. In essence, it's an attempt to update the core of Marxist theory for that relatively novel set of historical circumstances known as the information age. -- Marcus Boon, author of
Infuriating and inspiring in turn, A Hacker Manifestowill spawn a thousand theses, and just maybe spawn change.
What Ken Wark's book does is take us deep into the philosophy of hacking: it gives us a new way of seeing those irreverent folks who play for keeps with digital culture. Think of his book as a lexicon that says "play with digital culture like you would play with DNA--carefully." It's not every day that you get a book that takes you deep into the realm of practical analysis of the ways that we abstract thought and action in search for more kicks on-line, and for almost all aspects of control in digital culture from the top down "Hacker Manifesto" says--this is about exploration, this is about freedom. Inside out, upside down, information always wants to be free, and this is the book that shows us why. Paul D. Miller A.K.A. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid Author Of < i=""> rhythm Science <>
Ours is once again an age of manifestos. Wark's book challenges the new regime of property relations with all the epigrammatic vitality, conceptual innovation, and revolutionary enthusiasm of the great manifestos. -- Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid author of
A Hacker Manifestois a highly original and provocative book. At a moment in history where we are starved of new political ideas and directions, the clarity with which Wark identifies a new political class is persuasive, and his ability to articulate their interests is remarkable. -- Michael Hardt, co-author of
[Wark's] ambitious A Hacker ManifestoGoogles for signs of hope in this cyber-global-corporate-brute world of ours, and he fixes on the hackers, macro-savvy visionaries from all fields who 'hack' the relationships and meanings the rest of us take for granted. If we hackers--of words, computers, sound, science, etc.--organize into a working, sociopolitical class, Wark argues, then the world can be ours. -- Julian Dibbell, author of
Writers, artists, biotechnologists, and software programmers belong to the 'hacker class' and share a class interest in openness and freedom, while the 'vectoralist' and 'ruling classes' are driven to contain, control, dominate, and own. Wark crafts a new analysis of the tension between the underdeveloped and 'overdeveloped' worlds, their relationships to surplus and scarcity, and the drive toward human actualization. -- Hua Hsu - Village Voice
Infuriating and inspiring in turn, A Hacker Manifestowill spawn a thousand theses, and just maybe spawn change. -- Michael Jensen - Chronicle of Higher Education
McKenzie Wark's A Hacker Manifestois a remarkable and beautiful book: cogent, radical, and exhilarating, a politico-aesthetic call to arms for the digital age...Whether or not A Hacker Manifestosucceeds in rousing people to action, it's a book that anyone who's serious about understanding the changes wrought by digital culture will have to take into consideration. -- Mike Holderness - New Scientist
The larger argument may not be novel (it's plagued by the same flaws as Marx's original utopian blueprint), but this updated version of that vision provides a clever repudiation of the commodification of art, ingenuity, and the creative impulses--and a useful lens through which to examine the complexities involved in the ownership of ideas in this digital age. -- John Conomos - Sydney Morning Herald
A Hacker Manifestois the Big Picture of not only where we are in the 'information age,' but where we're going as well. Adopting the [epigrammatic] style of Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle, as well as updating its ideas, Ken Wark establishes so-called 'knowledge workers' as an unrecognized social class: 'the hacker class.' Wark also updates Marx and Engels, Deleuze and Guattari, Nietzsche, and a host of others...Far from just being the story of 'us versus them' class struggles, Ken Wark's book is far more complex: It tackles many issues, historical, emergent, and emerging. Opening up new discursive spaces where none existed before, A Hacker Manifestomight well turn out to be one of the most important books of the new century. -- Ruminator Review
A Hacker Manifestowill yield some provocative ideas and real challenges to a world in which everything is commodified. -- Roy Christopher - Frontwheeldrive.com
A Hacker Manifesto deftly defines the fraught territory between the ever more strident demands by drug and media companies for protection of their patents and copyrights and the pervasive popular culture of file sharing and pirating.
Drawing in equal measure on Debord and Deleuze, A Hacker Manifesto offers a systematic restatement of Marxist thought for the age of cyberspace and globalization. In the widespread revolt against commodified information, Wark sees a utopian promise, beyond the property form, and a new progressive class, the hacker class, who voice a shared interest in a new information commons.
About the Author
McKenzie Wark is Professor of Cultural and Media Studies at Lang College, New School University. He is the author of several books, most recently Dispositions.
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