May 3 - June 30, 2002 at Zenith Media Lounge, New Museum of Contemporaray Art

In mainstream culture, “hacking” has many, mostly negative, connotations ranging from relatively harmless pranks, to economically quantified consequences, to criminal actions.  Particularly after September 11, the term has acquired new connotations, as have the related subjects of privacy, surveillance, and community. Open_Source_Art_Hack  presents the work of artists from the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom who approach hacking as a creative electronic strategy Rather than a merely destructive act.  Using media and technology tactically and transparently, these artists reveal and question institutional, governmental, corporate, and societal undermining of individual identity, local control, and citizen agency.

This exhibition is specifically about artists—and, more often, collectives—who adhere to principles of free access and the logic of shared culture.  “Open Source”— developed initially as a process for the community creation and ownership of software code—offers artists (and the users of their works) not only shared tools but also a transparent way of working that is as much about process as it is about product.  Many artists in this show work with everyday software tools—such as search engines, web browsers, identification systems, sound interfaces, and Internet protocols—intending their work to be distributed, and, in some cases, adapted by other users. In this way, they share an important legacy with conceptual artists interested in the politics of distribution and display.

Open_Source_Art_Hack comprises performances, walking tours, networked art, video works, radio transmissions and a community-oriented television broadcast on the Internet.  Extending beyond the scope of the Media Lounge for the first time, the works in this show occupy the New Museum’s lobby, bookstore, and mezzanine, as well as public spaces in New York city.

This exhibition is organized by Steve Dietz, Curator of New Media, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Jenny Marketou, a New York based artist, in collaboration with Anne Barlow.