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Hackers watch Hackers (the movie)

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Thanks to JP from Hack Manhattan for sending in this blog tip! It’s a fun, and at times hilarious look back at the movie Hackers with some real life hackers and their running commentary. Check out the full post here. (Warning, hackers have potty mouths!)

The cultural impact of the mid-nineties tech revolution is still being felt today. Cell phones, email, webcams, the Hubble Space Telescope, the World Wide Web and HTML, digital cameras—all came about within a relatively short time span. A newly computerized world brought with it fears from the general public about the potential for technological abuses. This paranoia was keenly exploited by the filmmakers of the day.

Hackers, The Net, Virtuosity, GoldenEye and Johnny Mnemonic all came out in 1995, when just 14 million American adults were using the internet. Of these films, few stand the test of time. The flicks faced a unique challenge in attempting to make a fundamentally uninteresting, unfamiliar activity into something captivating. Hackers was a financial flop, but its hilariously over-the-top early CGI visuals, oddly prescient view on technology, and glam-cyberpunk aesthetic rendered it a cult classic.

To honor its 20th anniversary—at a time dogged by newfound fears about what the future of technology holds—we thought it would be fitting to bring together a group of actual hackers to screen and discuss the film. The kind folks at Hack Manhattan, who share a space with neighboring Babycastles, were happy to open their hackspace up to us. Despite being wildly inaccurate, the film was hugely inspiring to many members of Hack Manhattan for creating a certain mystique around hacking culture that other tech films never quite matched. The erstwhile optimism of the nineties tech boom is fondly captured in the film, and although it’s been subsumed by Silicon Valley disruption rhetoric, Hackers is a beautiful, wildly entertaining expression of the moment. With so many other nineties trends resurfacing in popular culture, the movie is due for a rewatch. The following is a roundtable discussion that went down after credits rolled.

Read the discussion here.


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