Are nerds, hackers and computer specialists the true avant-garde of the 21st century? After all, they are the spearheads of global movements like Anonymous and WikiLeaks, they have access to information that the average citizen does not and they actively shape our understanding of public and digital society. For two years, theatre director Angela Richter has worked closely with WikiLeaks activists bringing two worlds together – the art and the IT scene – that often eye each other with mistrust. In July 2011 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek organised an exclusive lunch, for which eight places could be bought on eBay. Angela Richter was among the eight, filmed everything and then used original recordings of subsequent meetings with the activists in her play “Assassinate Assange”. Since then she has been in close artistic contact with several of Assange’s employees. It will be a discussion on self-censorship and clandestine meetings, and about what you leave behind, and what you have to leave behind when you become an activist – and what you gain. Moderated by Anjana Shrivastava.
Angela Richter, born in 1970 in Ravensburg, is a German theatre director and has been one of the four in-house directors at the Schauspiel Köln since 2013. Her production “Kippenberger! Ein Exzess des Moments” is currently playing there. She studied theatre direction in Hamburg and was a member of the Hamburg artists’ group Akademie Isotrop. In 2006 she founded the Fleetstreet Theater Hamburg , and has run the organisation since 2010. In 2009, she received the Rolf Mares Prize for her production “Der Fall Esra” (The Esra Case), which is based on the banned novel “Esra” by Maxim Biller. Her production “Assassinate Assange (reloaded)” is based on interviews with Wikileaks boss Julian Assange, whom she visited several times in his refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London.
Allegra Searle-LeBel is an American choreographer, dancer, and performance artist. She is also a technology strategist and activist working for peace, internet freedom, and global privacy issues. Allegra lives in Berlin because the global surveillance state destroyed her ability to live in the US, and because Germany is currently more supportive of privacy rights than her country of origin. Current projects include works on the Bolivarian Revolution and on surveillance culture. BA from UC Berkeley in Peace & Conflict Studies: Artistic Representations of Violence.
Joseph Farrell grew up in Swaziland and lives in London. He is the first official ambassador of Wikileaks and a colleague of Julian Assange. He previously worked at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London.
Anjana Shrivastava is an American journalist. During the Gulf War, she founded the discussion series Die Neue Weltbuehne (the New World Series) for the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education). Since then, speakers such as Lawrence Lessig, Art Spiegelman, Sebastian Junger and Evgeny Morozov have conveyed the message of an alternative America in Berlin. She studied European History at Harvard University and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Since then, her work has been published in newspapers and on internet platforms like the “Wall Street Journal Europe”, “Spiegel Online”, and “Die Welt”.