I didn’t really know anything about the work of Anonymous and the culture of Hacktivism apart from the odd reference to them in mainstream media until the film, We Are Legions. I found the film (We Are Legions: The story of Hacktivism, 2012) a really interesting insight into their history and campaigns; however I think it highlighted some holes in their ethos firstly in that the lack of specific message in turn results in a conflict of belief. It limits the ability in connecting with a wider audience as it seemed clear to have a very particular white male dominance that established from computer gaming culture. Relating back to the lack of clear beliefs or moral identity, it reminded me of a quote about London that I cannot seem to find but it discussed that as the city never set out with specific aims, it is malleable over time. This was reminscient of Anonymous in that its organic growth results in a conflict of beliefs or aims due to it’s roots in comedic internet humour on 4Chan. This resulted in some people hacking an epilepsy charity website with animations that caused many people to fall ill and have fits as a result. This clearly contrasts with the positive campaigns they have completed such as that in support of protestors in the middle east uprisings. This conflict in ethos reminds me of a quote I saw on the back of the stage of band Enter Shikari’s set at Reading Festival a few years ago that is from their song, Quelle Surprise. The backdrop said (Enter Shikari, 2010) ‘if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything’; this highlights the flaws in the group Anonymous as they cannot represent themselves strongly enough due to no structure or shared idea within the group.
Enter Shikari. (2010) Reading Festival 2010 set. Performed by Enter Shikari [Reading. 2010].
We Are Legions: The Story of The Hacktivists (2012) Directed by Brian Knappenberger. USA: Ro*co Films International.