How to Become War Machine, Or … A Low Hacktivist (Un)Methodology in Pieces
In recent years, digital media and networks have been increasingly used to deploy dissent, opposition and resistance. More frequently, beyond traditional media as communicational tools, politically-oriented hacking subjectivities like ‘Anonymous’ employ media as weapons. However, a similar material deployment of media actions cannot be studied as a static, clearly definable ‘thing’ based on a representational order. These media actions, as well as their compositional relations, and the processes through which they are originated, are mostly ephemeral. Moreover, their deployment is always actualised in emergent and unstable contexts, within which the elements at stake – involving human and non-human components – are continuously in change, acting often beyond representation.
For this reason, I suggest a ‘low hacktivist methodology in pieces’ as a theoretical and practical exercise of assemblage for recognising and dealing with similar criticalities without imposing any impossible objectivity. Inspired by Wark’s ‘low theory’ and Guattarian ecosophy, such a ‘scattered’ (un)methodology is conceived as a ‘method assemblage’ capable of activating, rather than framing, the virtual ‘lines of flight’ of the (problematised) objects of research. Within such assemblages, in fact, subject and object are critically put into question, allowing new methodological strategies to deal with hacktivist media actions. Becoming ‘war machine’ is a temporary and fragmented attempt to ‘machinise’ with the forces populating hacktivist media assemblages. Here, an ontological reframing is needed: a confrontation with humanist paradigms that enables, as a critical circuit, the blossoming of theory from the same actions at stake.