a look at hacking from an art perspective
speaker: tori winn
I wanted to pick an angle that would force me to rethink what I know of hacking.
As a creative director I spend lots of time somewhere ‘in the creative process’—
literally hacking away at things and putting all kinds of thoughts and ideas down
and bringing people together to make cool stuff.
Making things is something I love.
I am interpreting ‘hacking’ in the literal sense of the word:
hacking a video game…hacking a piece of paper (pre-computers)
….hacking time.…space….culture….clay….everyday objects.…histories….
Each of the artists I’ve chosen has a different and unique kind of voice. In
most cases, having this identiﬁable voice is usually what has to happen for
an artist to become recognized so that people understand his or her work.
All of them have in some way hacked or hack the world we live in as a way
of expressing who they are as artists.
stone and ﬂint tools have been the means of
our ancestors’ survival for over a million years…
More than 125,000 years ago…
Caves like Lascaux in France,
became the ﬁrst ‘art’ galleries ﬁlled
with elaborate images of horse,
bison, buffalo, wooly mammoths and
The cave paintings were hacked
into the walls of the caves and
pigment was then carefully pressed
into the crevices that were created
by a ﬂint.
The ﬂint itself was hacked by another
piece of stone that was carefully
picked because of its strength.
Almost 100 years ago…
Dadaism was an art movement
that hacked the absurd and
unexplainable to reinforce the
surreal nature of life.
Using mostly magazines and
newspapers, they took words and
images and made mostly collaged
imagery to create nonsensical
poems, sculpture and books.
Giving the viewer a new look at
everything they are faced with on a
daily basis. The movement
sparked signiﬁcant changes in
painting and sculpture.
hacks computer games and in the process changes the
inherent meaning of the symbols to change the way we
associate with speciﬁc ideas we are surrounded by.
is an American artist
and techno geek who
loves to game. His
work centers on his
love of personal
computers and the
internet. He mostly
hacks youtube videos
recycles) content and
computer game code
and aesthetics and
turns them into art ‘by
mucking around in
He changes the
inherent meaning of
the symbols in the
games and as a result
he changes the way
we associate with
speciﬁc ideas we are
surrounded by. He is
our most current form
of art hacker. Maybe
he is changing the
way we think about
the digital imagery
and artefacts we are
through altering the
outcome of familiar
In Clouds, Cory took an old Super Mario Brothers Nintendo video game and erased everything but the clouds.
Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools, an exhibition of
work at the Whitney museum in NYC, revolves
around the concept of “product
demonstrations.” All of the works featured in
the exhibition—ranging from video games,
single channel video, kinetic sculpture, and
prints, to pen plotter drawings—have been
created by means of technological tools with
an emphasis on the mixing and matching of
both professional and amateur technologies,
as well as the vernaculars these technologies
encourage within culture at large.
Part of Cory Arcangel's "I Shot Andy Warhol," which he
created by hacking and rewriting the game "Hogan's Alley".
The exhibition also includes works from the series Photoshop Gradient
Demonstrations, consisting of unique prints showing fades between
colors that have been created by using the popular image processing
software Photoshop’s standard gradient tool.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Various Self Playing Bowling Games (2011), is
a bowling alley consisting of large-scale projections of bowling games from the late
1970s to the 2000s, each hacked by the artist to throw only gutter balls. Projected in
chronological order these games are a history of both video game bowling and of
graphic representation in the digital medium, from pixellated abstraction to realism.
When Guy Ben-Ner goes to Ikea,
he’s not there for the meatballs.
Guy Ben-Ner. Israeli artist.
hacks one of the world’s most popular furniture
shops in the world to stage guerilla theater in
Ikea showrooms worldwide. Using our oldest
form of narrative for sharing experiences:
storytelling. During this process he is making
theater, video and performance art. Using
words, a plot, a story; this can be compared to
some kind of ancient form of theatre with Ikea
shoppers looking on as if they are a greek
He travels with his family (the cast) and wanders into
Ikea showrooms with a semi-prepared script where
they act out reasonable facsimile of family life. They
put on their scene, ﬁlming it as if it was sit-com or a
ﬁlm, as people shop. They continue ﬁlming until they
are kicked out of Ikea.
More poignantly, as an Israeli artist who travels the
world with family in tow, and makes his art in
different countries and spaces, he cannibalizes the
culture and objects he encounters, trying to make
these work for his art and family. In this way he
echoes the immigrant’s story and the artist’s quest.
He almost becomes a kind of lost gnomadic
immigrant of the world.
hacks clay to tell
Grayson Perry is a national treasure.
He hacks clay, one of the oldest materials
we have used alongside a ﬂint; to tell
He is the Hogarth of our generation.
Every bit of tittle tattle, gossip, world news and
the class system gets explored on the sides of
his pots. He makes stealthy comments about
societal injustices and hypocrises and explores
a variety of historical and contemporary themes.
His work is very personal and moving.
Beautiful, made by hand and often large in scale.
hacks nature to give us a new beauty in the environment
He hacks nature to give us a new beauty in the
environment. He cuts through trees, rocks, the
land itself and makes outdoor sculpture that will
not last. He reinvents nature through his
gorgeous rearrangements of our landscape.
hacks everything we are surrounded by, from an egg, to a lens, to a magazine, to a piece of
furniture to create sculptural poetry in boxes.
He makes poetic worlds that allow us to enter his mind and bring our own thoughts and
desires. Always in the surrounds of a box, they are both childlike and dream like. He allows us to
interpret his arrangements of boxes as though we are children and the shoeboxes we used to
love to store things in. ( Self-taught, American artist )
hacks to show us the British African Experience
None of the characters in his art
have heads. They are anonymous
people, usually in a western
European scene, the only thing is,
they are wearing clothing made
from African fabrics. It is as though
Barak Obama had refurnished all
the soft furnishings in the White
House using African printed fabric.
A British-Nigerian artist who lives