Reality Hacking Defined

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Definitions

Here’s a definition of “reality hacking” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -JS

Reality hacking is an artistic practice that emerges from the intersection of hacking and hacker culture, contemporary art, activism, and net culture. Reality hacking takes as its basis a broad, phenomenological point of view of the world, and considers (often unorthodox) investigations into everyday objects and situations a meaningful way of probing into the working of varied social contexts.

Reality Hacking as Political Activism

“Reality hacking” is a form of activism that relies on tweaking the every-day communications most easily available to individuals with the purpose of awakening the political and community conscience of the larger population. The term first came into use among New York and San Francisco artists, but has since been adopted by a school of political activists centered around Social Redemption.

As a principle of political activism, “reality hacking” takes advantage of the insight of linguists and sociologists who argue that post-twentieth-century mass culture in the advanced world has become particularly impervious to either positive or negative rethinking of community. Negative assertions about community – in the form of negative news stories and mass political protests – tend to fall on ears overloaded by daily tragedy in the news, even when the causes and facts they relate are valid and deserving. Positive reimaginings of community – in the form of utopian havens, alternative religious or political structures, or idealistic protest against the status quo – equally tend to fall upon unbelieving ears of busy individuals who have already accepted the standards, sacrifices, and limits of the reality in which they normally operate.

As an alternative to these dead ends of twentieth-century political activism, “reality hacking” tries to capture the attention of individuals in their normal course of regular information consumption. It may involve attracting mainstream media attention to an attention-getting fringe political issue more liable to generate rethinking of cultural norms than standard debates to which the public has already become jaded. Or it may involve harnessing the means of information dissemination itself, using online information sources to disseminate alternative definitions of commonly accepted facts.

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