Hackers of Resistance is an interactive performance where one lucky player is called upon to uncover government operations and prove legitimacy on behalf of the HORs’ incarcerated sister organization—the Marias Clandestinas—forerunners of transnational feminism. Cracking the government database gets tough due to heavy encryption, so the HORs put their faith in the player (former-CIA-turned-dissenter) to navigate the system and find something juicy enough to raise media eyebrows. Joining the HORs at their table and donning a sanctimonious sparkly anti-RFID hoodie, the player connects through the backdoor and types commands to travel through NSA files—unveiling dark secrets of cyber surveillance. Once the player finds the hot docs, it’s time to leak. Obviously, it's not that easy, and the system detects them. The player must use their swift type and quick wits to protect the transfer while the HORs send it off to the world in time, confirming the fears of the 99% with something so flammable, it ignites a revolution.
Beyond the performance, the audience is free to roam the HORs’ makeshift hacker den, where environmental storytelling provides a cyberfeminist take on cybersecurity resources, hacking experiments, and easter eggs. Sights include: the disguises and flash drive collection of the social engineer, the identity-masking and anti-surveillance tactics of the incognito aficionado, and DIY-third-world-ecofeminist-biohacking tools of the guerrilla rebel. Here, the game operates in an exploratory mode, and players can peruse the NSA database at their own pace to unearth the past, present, and future of cyber surveillance and community organizing. Play with the HORs and bash those binaries!
We created The Hackers of Resistance in homage to the Sisters of Survival—a performance art group that dressed in colorful nun habits to champion nuclear disarmament and conjure cross-cultural dialogue. The SOS hacked public spaces with such brazen and mischievous style that the media could not pass up the opportunity to publish their message. While imagining how such acts could play out in our hyper-networked age, we conceived of a feminist group hacking digital space as political performance and action. Our cast of HORs includes characters across hacker culture—the puckish social engineer, the incognito aficionado weirdo, and the DIY guerrilla rebel. But rather than perpetuate the classic and limited representation of hackers, the HORs are loud, proud, and promiscuous femmes of color ready to bash your binaries—be they 1s and 0s or constructs of gender and sexuality.
Our highly-curated hacker den reflects these values in its tests for drone- and security-camera-hacking, anti-facial recognition strategies, guerrilla gardening, reproductive justice devices, and more. The digital game is our impressionistic take on the history of the government’s intelligence efforts and the people’s attempts to expose them from physical to digital dimensions. And our highly-stylized coding aesthetic is meant to be as light-hearted yet deliberate as our sparkly neon hoodies. The colors and comedy foster an environment where one can consider the past and future of activism and government suppression without complete, bleak, existential paranoia.
Hackers of Resistance aims to infiltrate and liberate our associations of “tech” and masculine,” “hacking” and “criminal” and, in turn, promote a mythos of femme hackers of color who fight for justice in sisterhood-not-cisterhood. While advocating for digital disobedience, we also urge individuals to take cybersecurity seriously in any upcoming calendar dates that may or may not involve smashing hegemony.