Do 5.9. / 20:30
Like the 2013 Ars Electronica Festival itself, a long gestation period has also preceded Wir sind hier (We Are Here), the live performance in Linz’s Tabakfabrik that will kick off this year’s conclave. Since mid-July, the website www.wir-sind-hier.org has been the hub of the cross-medial art project launched by artist, university instructor and software entrepreneur Salvatore Vanasco (IT/DE).
Opposition to Surveillance
Here, Vanasco and his numerous cohorts have been publishing the project’s themes, putting them up for discussion and providing updates about ongoing actions. The target audience of Wir sind hier is people who oppose the government’s data retention efforts, PRISM and the many other forms of digital surveillance and censorship, and people who refuse to yield to the sense of hopelessness and the indifference that come with this territory.
A Feeling of Uneasiness
The festival’s opening ceremony will also call to mind what surveillance and censorship can lead to. Attendees will quickly be overcome by a vague feeling of apprehension—and this is utterly intentional. Surveillance cameras keeping an eye on everyone present dot the perimeter. Other details also strongly suggest that these proceedings are under total surveillance. And in the middle of the courtyard: a statue made of data storage media. What’s up with this?
80 Years after the First Nazi Book Burnings
Suddenly, masked figures intrude into the assembled throng and begin dividing people up into groups. The music, familiar oldies at first, turns into earsplitting noise. A little girl, her face displayed on a jumbo-format screen, begins reading a text aloud. We are reminded of the book burning on May 10, 1933, when an estimated 20,000 volumes went up in flames in the middle of Berlin. And over the course of the performance—including a fly-by of the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s quadcopter swarm—we are made cognizant in no uncertain terms of dangerous tendencies in today’s control-oriented society.
Another way to get involved is by joining the Wir-sind-hier chorus. All are invited to read a short excerpt from Bertolt Brecht’s 1925 poem “Gegen Verführung” (Against Seduction) and upload their words in the form of a short video to the project website. Together, these many voices will form a chorus whose debut will also be part of the show at the Tabakfabrik.
The project producers are also endeavoring to capture the sounds of the destruction of a culture—from the impact of a wrecking ball to the crackling of burning paper and the electronic beep of an error message. Composer FM Einheit (DE) will use them as part of the soundtrack of the live show in Linz.
With Jovica Aleksis (DE), Gözen Atila (TR), Ulé Barcelos (PT), Dominik Berg (DE), Matti Casper Blunck (DE), Rica Blunck (DE), Yoko Gretel Blunck (DE), Claudius Brodmann (DE), Matthias David (DE), Elisa de Paolis (IT), Daniela Dibelius (DE), FM Einheit (DE), Stephanie Geiger (DE), Marcus Jäger (DE), Craig Johnson (NZ), Johannes Kirchner (DE), Francesca Kühlers (USA), Traute Kühlers (DE), Jan Lachenmayer (DE), Sybille Luhmann (NL), Andy Müller-Maguhn (DE), Timo Maier (DE), Jürgen Mertens (DE), Steffen Neubauer (DE), Kien Nguyen (DE), Felix Ostrowski (DE), Bilgehan Öziş (TR), Laszlo Puskas (DE), Rafa Quinonero (ES), Ludwig Seyfarth (DE), Rolf Wolkenstein (DE), Cornelia Wunderlich (DE), Laura Zidda (IT).
Do 5.9. 20:30