From ricardo dominguez <>
Date Wed, 15 Sep 1999 14:52:03 -0400
Organization The Thing

[: hacktivism :]

    The Revenge
    of Crystal City
    by The Electronic Disturbance
    Theater - 09/15/1999

    While the rest of the
    gang was partying in Linz, Austria at
    this year's Ars Electronica Festival,
    two members of the Electronic
    Disturbance Theater hunkered down just
    a mile and half from the core of the
    Pentagon to interact with .mil, .gov,
    and .com entities.

    On September 8, Ricardo Dominguez and
    Stefan Wray delivered a multimedia
    presentation complete with spoken word,
    video, and sound to an audience of
    stern yet curious bureaucrats and
    hyperparanoics at InfoWar Con '99, a
    conference in sterile Crystal City
    dedicated to Internet system security
    and organized by none other than the
    guru of, Winn Schwartau.

    A blend of pure chronology and analysis
    of EDT's own antics set off against a
    series of interruptions and collages of
    Zapatista video mixed with fast
    forwarded hacker shorts held a captive
    audience for over one and a half hours.

    The conference was strewn with top
    military brass, corporate leaders, And
    top level law enforcement officials who
    were bent on framing the debate about
    security in the direction of
    cyber-terrorism, equating digital
    bodies with real bodies.

    If there was a common ground - maybe a
    long shot - it was probably in The area
    of simulation. While not on the agenda
    in an overt way, the entire notion of a
    war on the Internet is predicated on
    some sort of believe in the fake and
    the virtual, simulated warfare in the
    digital realm.

    It is difficult to say how we were
    reviewed. But minimally it seems clear
    that we did grab people's attention,
    evidenced by few people leaving the
    presentation once they were riveted in
    their seats. Winn Schartau later said
    he was waiting for the "results" to
    come in, meaning he wanted to see how
    people reacted to our "theater."

    Most definitely it was worth the
    journey to Washington, a rare shot at
    seeing how the other side thinks. Maybe
    some heads were turned. One young man
    in uniform who said he worked for the
    Defense Information Systems Agency made
    a point of telling us that the military
    was not a monolithic block but rather
    was a vast enterprise full of multiple
    and diverging views. He, at least, was
    interested in what we had to say.

    An outcome of the talk was an
    invitation by an editor at Covert
    Action Quarterly for us to co-author a
    piece for their special millennium
    issue. Plus we got a chance to chat
    with a few more journalists and make
    connections with other marginal figures
    who appeared in the cracks between the
    .mil and .gov entities.

    Being at a conference of hyperparanoics
    hell-bent on demonizing the work Of
    many of our cohorts and comrades is not
    the way we'd like to spend all Our
    time, but for a brief glimpse at their
    mindset and worldview it was certainly
    well worth it.

    P.S. We spoke to 4 War College
    students, one who had studied EDT in
    school, individually between
    presentations. They all wanted to know
    who was in control of EDT, how were our
    actions and tactics decided, and what
    were are plans in the future?

    Of course this means that they failed
    to grasp that within soft_power cells
    each individual has to the ability to
    move quickly and represent the whole,
    without having the whole cell involved
    directly with each gesture. Also, the
    importance of keeping each cell as
    small as possible in order to allow the
    sub_divisions of knowledge to
    hyper_flow via improvisations and
    invention. As with any good
    improvisation in the theater-if the
    scene is playing well no one actor is
    in control and no one actor can decide
    the outcome of the scene. Each cell
    member is also open to a number of
    different flows beyond the cell that
    push the scene beyond the constraints
    of the individuals cell members
    singular trajectories. The scene_itself
    controls the ground of the actions,
    tactics, and future actions. A scene
    which is itself is part of a specific
    historicity of call and response
    networks that have converged within and
    around the zapatista communities in

    These War College students also when
    questioned about what they have been
    reading-had little to no knowledge of
    the history of performance theory,
    aesthetics, critical theory, or current
    network theory. Of course one could
    say-why should they!-but not even to
    have read current military discourse on
    chaos and simulation seems to show that
    indeed they are already losing future
    wars now.

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