Title

Against Critique: Fluxus and the Hacker Aesthetic

Publication Date

2016

Journal

Modernism/modernity

Volume

22

Issue

4

First Page

787

Last Page

810

Abstract

This essay argues that key aspects of Fluxus have a striking resemblance to the ideas and antics of the computer “hackers” who, in the sixties and seventies, defined the culture of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence lab. The past several decades have seen the rise of a rich body of scholarship on hackers and the cultural critique that their practices imply. By relating this “hacker ethic” to the works of the Fluxus artists (who likewise practiced in the sixties and seventies), this essay argues that Fluxus deserves to be understood not as a late manifestation of dada or the inchoate prefiguration of conceptual art and institutional critique, but rather as the first avant-garde movement fit to the age of electronic information and their network protocols.

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