Life Hack #1 How to be Seen, sociologist and economist Saskia Sassen on Invisibility. A lecture on the expelled human. April 9th, 8 p.m. Tivoli Vredenburg

08.04.15 | tag: Utrecht

Saskia Sassen's lecture is the first one in a series as part of the overriding project 



All over the world people are set in motion to get to grips with their lives. They make passionate attempts to reclaim their lives and retain a firm ground in a quickly changing high-tech society. The art manifestation HACKING HABITAT articulates the ever growing influence of systems and institutions, and pinpoints the impact of technology in this turbulent environment. We are witnessing the rise of a ‘remote control society’ colonizing and infiltrating increasing realms of daily life for the sake of safety and risk-management.

Hightech systems are interconnected on a global scale, extending rapidly and gaining more power every day, to the extent that we lose oversight. Mechanisms within institutions start to lead their own life, services become automated, data are the new currency and efficiency is the norm. Technology´s promise of the quick fix is changing power structures within and around institutions and the appeal of solutionism is stronger than ever.

HACKING HABITAT looks for alternative ways. How can citizens take charge and reclaim their environment? Can we find a common ground to coexist with machines and provide ‘ground truth’feedback? The project aims to encourage public awareness of society mediated by technology. The art manifestation also offers tools enabling resistance against excesses of control and regulation.

As a steppingstone to the exhibition four life-hack marathons will be organized in 2015; design workshops for both thinkers and doers. Heterogeneous groups will congregate around the impending themes people are coping with in society: invisibility, debt, lack of free movement, and bureaucracy. Life hacking is a smart and creative way to respond to situations where you have ended up, but over which you have no control. A clothespin is meant for something else but now works fine as a temporary solution to pin your pant leg up so it won’t get caught in the spokes of your bike. The term is new but the behavior is already known by many.

The life-hacking marathons are workshops where people from different areas and backgrounds come together to discuss urgent issues in society. The sessions resemble democratic pressure cookers. Each life-hacking marathon is introduced by a renowned international speaker. Keynote lectures on the eve of each life-hacking marathon will take place in Tivoli Vredenburg. Speakers will introduce the topic, expand and provide context. During the sessions on the days after, speakers, artists and hackers will accompany and inspire the carefully selected participants in the life-hacking marathons. Participants are co-owners of the problem and together develop lasting solutions. Eating together, prisontours, sleeping in a cell (if desired) are among the shared experiences.