Caspar Menkman

Hacker Ethics

Dev Camp Day 5

The boys and girls present at our camp are the natural descendants of the early hackers living in the 1950s and 1960s. Why you ask? Let me quickly explain.


IkSentric — dev camp day 3 - IkSentric — Hacker Camp 10, overview at the Mediamatic exhibition space. The teams are sharing, conceptualizing, building and coding all over the Mediamatic Bank Robert Keil

This is the 5th day we are sitting here. We are working hard. The hackers are going on around the clock to assemble their ambitious installations. Sleep deprivation, identity crisis, hunger and thirst are all factors that come into play, but the central element that is felt all around is just sheer excitement in being involved. Creating something out of nothing in just 5 days is wonderful. Add the willingness to help each other out and you can see how this camp feels rather warm (even if the temperatures outside can be chillingly cold).

Hacker Ethics is a term coined by Steven Levy in his book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution which he wrote in 1984. In this book he writes that hacking is an activity that is not only undertaken to achieve a certain constructive goal, but also to have some wilde pleasures in the process of creation. Certain central elements of the culture surrounding hacking are the sharing of experiences, the freedom of access to your work and the decentralized nature of processes. And these sentiments are currently echoing through the exhibition space.

The teams are rapidly churning out strings of codes, adjusting hardware and building wooden structures. And they are doing this while they are smiling. Thanks for that.