Essay 6: Week 7- Vectors vs Borders

Prior to reading ‘A Hacker’s Manifesto’ I had a far different idea of what a hacker was. I believed a hacker to be someone who illegally tries to steal bank account details, personal information and engages in identity theft for criminal purposes.

Wark’s interpretation of a hacker however is anyone that produces new information. This is in stark contrast to what I believed to be a shady individual conducting illegal activity behind closed doors. We are all producing new information, therefore we are all hackers in a sense. Wark says the information produced doesn’t have to be great or even good, just ‘new’. This means that many of the seemingly pointless and annoying tweets/Facebook status’s that appear on your timeline fall under the ‘hacker’ category.

Wark explains that there is an obstacle to the free flow of the new information produced and this is caused by a class he calls the ‘vectoralists’. The vectoralists have control over the different “vectors” or ways and networks over which the information flows. Wark depicts a constant class struggle between the hackers and the vectoralists. Wark notes “The arrest of the free flow of information means the enslavement of the world to the interests of those who profit from information’s scarcity, the vectoral class.”

There are many aspects in which I agree with the Hackers Manifesto. I agree with Wark’s view that education does not necessarily mean the acquisition of knowledge. I do however find it difficult to understand a fair portion of his work as I find it difficult to identify with. That being said, I believe it would be useful to those with a pre-existing understanding in these matters. Admittedly Wark’s writing seems to be rather introductory, ‘Hacking’ as a discipline appears to be incredibly dense and a field that requires a plethora of knowledge to explore with any sort of significance.

References:

McKenzie Wark at The Center for Design and Geopolitics — YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e0F9AX23JI.[Accessed 09 September 2015].

Wark, M, 2004, A Hacker Manifesto Harvard University Press (Deakin University electronic version)

Wark, M, 2006, A Hacker Manifesto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ5dGRP7td4