Andreas Broeckmann on Tue, 15 Sep 2015 21:18:58 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> "Speak Out with Snowden, Assange and Manning"

hey geert,

i quite like the project as a piece of public art that invite people to participate and identify with an attitude of braveness. i don't see the celebration of particular personalities, certainly not heroism. the fact that the figures are all standing on chairs suggests that they have all been made, by circumstances and by their own decisions, to appear bigger than they actually are; and the empty chair suggests that it does not take much to stand in that row, that it is possible to join their ranks if you choose to stand up against, for instance, unjust state secrecy and the regimes of surveillance. (and remember, a hero or heroine need not be a saint...)

public communication, and the way in which we understand our own role in society, is often relayed by such exemplary figures; the narrative structure works even when everybody knows that these people are not exceptional in themselves, it's just that they chose to do something specific which many others in similar circumstances could also have done.

of course, this is not a very differentiated and critical piece, and no result of adornian negative dialectics; if it was, it would most probably not be in front of the UN building, and we would most probably not know about it.

what it ultimately means is up to the people who get on that chair, and who circulate the photographs, or repeat the story about it - like yourself, like myself. for me, it is a strong way of asking: what is it that someone is doing in the world, and does he/she take a stand, and stick his/her head out? of course, it is easy to step on the chair and have your picture taken; but with that picture comes a responsibility, or at least a claim, which one may then be asked to live up to.

so, as a popular piece of making people ask themselves an engaging question, i like it.


Am 14.09.15 um 20:16 schrieb Geert Lovink:

(tactical (media) arts or celebrity propaganda? letâs discuss
this. as you all know, I have been critical of the personality cult of
julian assange (coordinated by himself) and was happy to see that
snowden and manning and the (missing) barrett brown had other
approaches. this art work is not working with these differences and
instead glorifies the heroes in a usual way. or not? geert)

Speak Out with Snowden, Assange and Manning Outside the UN

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