“I’m awaiting the downfall of the US regime, and then I’ll be able to travel more freely.” 

Lauri Love

This episode:

This episode of The Stuart Semple Show takes us back to the 90s, when cyber warfare was wreaking havoc on an international scale, redefining the landscape of social activism, and breaking down barriers… all from sleepy suburban homes.

Guest Lauri Love is no stranger to cyberactivism. He talks about his initiation into that world at the tender age of 14, his international travel restrictions, and his views on mainstream journalism. 

What is art? Who is to say that cyber social activism is any different from Stuart Semple’s own brand of disruptive expressionism? Stuart and Lauri discuss how cyber warfare intersects with modern political and social art.

This episode covers:

  • The origins of the term hacker
  • The cyber army movement in the 90s
  • Causing social change
  • Hacking as activism
  • WikiLeaks and journalism
  • Lauri Love’s battle with the law
  • Internet communities and how they transcend barriers

Links & references:

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Episode highlights

“I aspire, if not always live up to be a kind of performance artist. Not in the theatrical traditional sense, but in the sense that my purpose is to sometimes bring about interesting situations that trigger people’s imaginations.” – Lauri Love – 01:10

“This is a very artistic idea: the idea of putting something where it doesn’t belong. It is something that I do a lot in my work. I’ll put an emotional baggage drop in a train station.” –  Stuart Semple – 08:37

“At the tender age of 14 I was a general in a semi-clandestine international insurgency of a kind, but a good kind. I was a general in a cyber army. You get to be a general by beating a series of challenges and rising up the ranks.” – Lauri Love – 10:37

“I had an incredible anxiety disorder. I couldn’t leave my room for three years. I made three pieces of work a day and shared them on the internet. And I realised there was a community and I wasn’t alone.” – Stuart Semple – 16:03

“It gave people something to do that was in the middle of just being a consumer, mindless, lean back and consume, everything’s done for you. Or the alternative, which was to be in the actual underground underground, where you’d be brushing shoulders with criminals.” –  Lauri Love – 11:46

“Let’s get into freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of information. The sort of thing that you believe in and that I believe in. Let’s think about Julian Assange.” – Stuart Semple – 31:57

“WikiLeaks, in what is achieved in bringing to light the wars in Afghanistan, in Iraq, what was happening in Guantanamo Bay, information about the horrific practices of some of the big oil companies, the disaster in India, horrific mutations, countless revelations, demonstrate a failure of mainstream journalism. It shows that journalism has lost its courage to hold power to account.” – Lauri Love – 32:15

“I wonder if that’s part of it… a sort of very basic mistrust or misunderstanding of technology. By that I mean, if I made an art exhibition dealing with similar sort of issues, I don’t think I’d be censored.” –  Stuart Semple – 38:49

“I’m awaiting the downfall of the US regime, and then I’ll be able to travel more freely.” –  Lauri Love – 50:36


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