An ACTLab New Media course: Extreme freestyle hacking!>

The B&W photo (center, right) is of Gloria Gordon and Ester Gerston, two of the first people to correctly be called programmers. (A year or two earlier, they would have been called "computers", because they computed ballistic trajectories for the military using paper, pencil, and hand-operated mechanical "adding machines". They are shown programming ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer, using patch cords. Gerston holds an instruction sheet describing where to plug the patch cords. Hanging over her arm are several of the hose-thick cords.

(Ada Lovelace wrote what is arguably the first computer program in 1832, for a programmable mechanical calculator designed mainly by Charles Babbage. Lady Ada is generally considered to be the founder of scientific computing.)

The face at lower center belongs to Donna Haraway, author of "A Manifesto for Cyborgs", the foundational paper for the branch of critical and cultural studies called Cyborg Theory.

The roomful of computer hackers behind Haraway was photographed at the Chaos Conference in January 2007.

The cyborg woman behind this information port is from the cover of Arthur and Marilouise Kroker's book Digital Delirium.

The background image of data-as-skyscrapers is from the movie Hackers.

Although most of these images are about representing the digital, it's a cheap shot -- images relating to computer-fu are plentiful, and we were in a hurry. But don't let the digital aspect of this page fool you. The course is also about culture hacking and related topics: the Situationists, Fluxus, Flash Mobs, pranking, the Billboard Liberation Front, and similar interventions. Mind you, not that computers aren't great tools for that, too.

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