Hacking Rhetoric

Artist’s Statement


For my first summary, I wrote about one of the very first hacks in history, “The Dot-Dash-Diss”. In short, in 1903 during a demonstration of new radio technology (sending Morse Code wirelessly over 300 miles) in front of hundreds of people in London, a rival competitor disrupted the signal by sending a more powerful Morse Code signal from a nearby location. That disrupting Morse Code signal turned out to be a poem accusing the demonstrators from stealing this new technology and not making the discoveries on their own. The newspapers went bonkers with the story and one of the first hacks in history came to fruition.

To hack my summary I did something somewhat obvious; I translated my entire paper into Morse Code. I found an online converter and pasted in the text. I then had to remove any foreign characters that couldn’t be converted into Morse Code including apostrophes and quotation marks. I then played the Morse Code within the website and used third party recording software to digitally record the Morse Code. During the playback, there were many distortions and repetitions of the same sound in quick successions leading me to realize that the playback was having errors. I considered starting over to get a clear recording, but realized that by leaving the distortions in there, it created metaphor for the hack that the paper described. The entire paper in Morse Code ended up being 16 minutes and 42 seconds at about 30 words per minute.


2 thoughts on “Artist’s Statement

  1. I find that really interesting, and the way you hacked your summary gives me a bunch of new ideas… It almost makes me want to try and write phrases that when played in morse code, play out some sort of song… I don’t know enough about Morse code or songwriting to try, but at least your summary hack got me thinking. Good stuff.

  2. This is a really cool idea! I think this is such an amazing hack and a really creative way to prove a point. I also love that you decided to replicate this in a really effective way!

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