I’m writing this from HackMeeting 2010 in Rome.
From their website:
Hackmeeting is the annual meeting of communities, (not only) digital countercultures and individuals who have adopted a critical and proactive approach towards the advancement of new technologies — which are more and more tied to social control, the business of war and the marketization of every vital space. Three days of workshops, games, parties, debates, exchanges and collective learning.
The event is totally self-managed: there are no organizers or users, but only participants.
With my friends from the countercultural fiction magazine Ruggine, who among other things print translations from SteamPunk Magazine from time to time, I just did a workshop on steampunk, the crisis that is civilization, apocalypse, and about countercultural access to radicalism. One of the writers from Ruggine did an excellent bit on what it means to be No Future, about how this liberates us to imagine our lives as they ought to be lived and makes it clear to us that we need to reject authority.
This space is a fucking brilliant example of counterculture. I’m at a squatted villa surrounded by a remarkably gender-diverse crowd of radical hackers. There’re bands playing and people teaching workshops on how to reclaim dumpstered computers from the 70s. This is a space that appeals to a certain kind of person, and it offers them access to radicalism, culture, solidarity, and community.
I’m leaving Italy in a few days, and I’m certain I’ll miss it. I toured through Vicenzia, Milan, Florence, Naples, and now Rome, and Italy is fascinating. The government is practically fascist (after WWII the leaders just changed the name of what they believed) and the mafia runs many of the cities, but that’s just the existing power structures and is a terrible way to judge a country’s spirit.