The future evolution of cities is critically important, as we are becoming an increasingly urban species. Currently more than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. This trend is expected to continue. Of the estimated 8 billion people who will live in the world by 2025-2030, 5 billion will live in cities. Yet the majority of our city infrastructures are based on inherited historical layouts and systems. Consequently, some of the key issues facing our urban centres include increasing population density and proximity, social and individual well-being and environment and resource management, including transport, food and energy needs. Addressing these issues will require radical shifts in governance, thinking and organisation.
The hacker mindset is one which finds ingenious solutions to systemic problems, whereby materials are maximised and systems disassembled and reassembled in order to create new alternatives. We have applied this mindset to the city by bringing together artists, designers, programmers, researchers, activists, community leaders, inventors, businesses and city councils, to address future and current city challenges and needs. Emphasis is placed on hacking for public and common good, on re-engineering our infrastructures for collective benefit by questioning how technology can enable urban centres become socially smart, connected and more viscous. As a result, recurring common threads, which run across the programme focus on connectivity, openness, exchange, public good, autonomy and freedom. The form and structure of the exhibition and programme, from the design to our communication strategies, also reflect these notions. Emphasising ideas of openness and exchange, we have created a fourteen-week programme, which includes gallery-based exhibition and hacklab, idea lab, city-based works, performances, talks, events, interventions and workshops, which not only allow you to learn about hacking, but also actively participate in imagining, appropriating and creating alternatives.
Michael John Gorman
Founding Director, Science Gallery
Curator, HACK THE CITY