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23650 : Culture Jamming in the Digital Age

Description: From the d├ętournement images of the Situationist International to the plundered sampled tracks of sonic outlaws, activist media artists in the later half of the 20th century deployed a medley of piratical practices in their quest to challenge and subvert our mainstream media culture. While the institutional critiques posed by these "culture jammers" remain as salient as ever, the creative techniques themselves no longer have the same effect in the age of social media and surveillance capitalism. As new media theorist Curt Cloninger asked in 2009, "How do you hack/resist a platform that already allows (indeed, invites) you to customize it?" This is the question we will set out to answer in this course. We'll look at works and study the practices of new media artists who have adapted these culture jamming techniques for the present moment. We'll learn how glitch artists exploit bugs in software to databend and datamosh media files. We'll learn how hacktivist use information security tools for creative political ends. We'll explore radical networks that exist outside the mainstream Internet and learn to tactically misuse our apps to circumvent restrictions imposed by popular platforms. At the end of this journey we'll respond to Cloninger's challenge by reframing these techniques as new modes of culture jamming for the digital age.

Instructor(s): Nick Briz

Offered: Winter 2021

Category: Practice

Cluster(s): Network Art