14_Social Hacking

The following are a collection of new media tools for social engagement.

Social practice is an art medium that focuses on social engagement, inviting collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the creation of participatory art.

Collaborating For Content

“The Iyapo Repository is a resource library that houses a collection of digital and physical artifacts created to affirm and project the future of peoples of African descent.”





Another notable, but non-tech related example of participatory design is the Canadian Theater group Theatre des Petites Lanterns. They are deployed after traumatic emergency situations to do therapy theater. They’ve been all over the world including in Haiti after the earthquake and the Congo to address violence against women. They host workshops where they have people journal about their experiences, they collect these journals and create a play based on them, and then they perform it in the local communities with local performers.

Theater of Small Lanterns production in Haiti
Theater of Small Lanterns production in Haiti


Fear Box by Samantha Zucker is an example of a student project that creates work by asking a question.



Social Engineering

The following are projects that re-invent social norms.


The Space Between Us
The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us, Lovers’ Direction

Subway dancer in the dark


Edition a&a – Contacts
Edition a&a – Contacts


A book that breaks social norms by selling personal contacts.

The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft by Angelo Washko
The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft by Angelo Washko

People are less inhibited in online spaces, particularly spaces like World of Warcraft in which your avatar doesn’t have to have any relationship to your life in physical space. However, I would say that this disinhibition is reflective of an American culture that is becoming more and more socially progressive outside the screen, and WoW becomes a safe space of resistance to the “politically correct” culture that is gaining a lot of traction in the U.S. You can get fired from your job for being a bigoted sexist now in your daily life outsized the screen, so these behaviors retreat into autonomous zones where they are still able to thrive. So this lack of inhibition is not necessarily related to people “performing” … but rather about letting go of all of the politically correct behaviors one must perform in everyday public life.

– Angela Washko

Some additional student work from Lauren and Kyle’s Social Hacking class.

File Party – http://itp.nyu.edu/~wdl225/work/?p=812

Change the profile picture – http://itp.nyu.edu/~wdl225/work/?p=606

Subvert the System / Obfuscation


Some evil examples from Obsfucation a User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest

Example 1 Craigeslist Robber

pg 17

Example 2 Quieting protests in Russia

pg 9
pg 9
pg 10
pg 10

Non- evil examples


Tim Jenkin at his Workstation in London
Tim Jenkin at his Workstation in London
operation vulas electronic-communications system1
operation Vulas electronic-communications system

How the ANC sent encrypted messages in the fight against apartheid





Feel The Problem


Gallery by Yolanda Dominguez
Gallery by Yolanda Dominguez

More info about Gallery

Dark Source by Ben Rubin


Crucifix NG by Elliot Malkin 2006



V.F(i)n_1 Echo of Violence by Luz Maria Sanchez


The Best Amendment by Paolo Pedercini


Design Fiction


Open Informat by Super Flux



3D MK Boat by Megumi Igarashi



RyanFair.org by Luther Blisset


Jaywalking by Dries Depoorter



Tools for the Weak

If my sole goal was to disrupt NSA surveillance and my material was software, I can think of more effective and less visible risky ideas than my artwork called ScareMail. For example, I could write malware that would hide obfuscated noise in everyone’s email rather than creating a program that generates poetic nonsense narratives and asks users to install them of their own accord. The former is a direct instrumental approach, while the latter is a counterintuitive proposition. That this proposition is functional and could have disruptive effect doesn’t change that its orientation to the world is fundamentally artistic. While I expect that the work and I have been investigated, that it is an artwork – in both name and strategy – gives it some of this pier to evade the litigation you mentioned.

– Benjamin Grosser


Injunction Generator by Ubermorgon


Reject Me by Anonymous