Hacking Rhetoric


Summary of a hack / hacked summary

This assignment has two parts.

Part One: Summary of a Hack

Locate and summarise a hack or hacked text (website, object, personal practice, etc) in a one-page single-spaced paper. Your summary should explain what the hack is, who carried it out, who (if anyone) was the target of the hack, its intent and what argument it makes. The hack does not need to still be ‘live’, but you’ll need to be able to locate a clear and comprehensive explanation of it (from news sources, sponsoring organisations, hackers, etc) in order to complete the assignment successfully.
Include a bibliography with full citation information for any sources you use in your project; this does not count against your page limit.

DEADLINE: Monday, October 14

Part Two: Hack Your Summary

Beginning with your Summary of a Hack, re-imagine and re-create the text — in other words, come up with a new and different version of your original summary. Your task is not to revise your assignment, but to think outside the box and invent a new iteration of the piece.

Instead of giving you instructions, I offer questions:
– If you could do anything with a source besides analyze it, what would you do with it?
– Can you re-present your writing in a way that preserves its meaning, but reimagines its form? (Instead of writing on a page — video? comic? kinetic typography? photo collage? song? dance?)
– Can you disrupt or refute the claims you’ve made in your original paper?
– Could you incorporate / mix in another source? What would happen?
– What media could be used to convey this information?
– How could the information be organised? (Should the content be expanded or contracted? Should the order be changed?)
– How could the information be disseminated?

This second part of the assignment is to be accompanied with a 150-200 word ‘Artist’s Statement‘ in which you explain the choices you’ve made in hacking your summary. Post this to the course blog in place of your regularly-scheduled blog post for the week. You should illustrate your post in some way (screenshot, photo of the assignment or a section of it, CC-licensed image/video that relates to your assignment, etc) in order to give your peers a sense of your project — and cut down on the space you’ll need to describe it.

DUE: Monday, October 21

Submission Instructions

Assignments are due by midnight on the day listed and should be emailed to beck.wise@utexas.edu Every file should have your name in its filename. Blog posts (for part 2) should be posted by midnight on October 21. If you require an alternative submission method, let me know.


This assignment builds toward your first major essay, in which you will be asked to undertake and present a rhetorical analysis of a hacked text.


In hacking your summary, you are free to use any creative or technical skills you possess. If you have big dreams and no idea how to make them happen, come see me; we can talk them through and figure out how to get you the skills you need (maybe I know how, maybe I know someone who knows how, etc). Remember, the DWRL’s Open Lab is available to you if you need access to specialised software and the proctors are always happy to help you figure things out. You can also print your work for this class in the Lab or just use it as a chilled-out place to work on your assignments.


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