Art and activism have long gone hand-in-hand, and where better to celebrate their union than in Berlin? Using Julian Assange as its patron saint/provocateur, NoisyLeaks!: The Art of Exposing Secrets considers how Assange’s Wikileaks has influenced art, journalism, and activism since its launch in 2006, as well as the role that information (and access to it) continues to shape technology and government today.
The show’s organisers borrow heavily from the activist toolkit to enhance the gallery experience, which aims to blur the lines between artist, audience, activist, hacker, and organizer. The work on display includes contributions from renowned rabblerousers like Ai Wei Wei and !Mediengruppe Bitnik as well as those with a more shadowy public existence, such as Norwegian street artist AFK, and ranges from the concrete (ChallengePower.Info’s “Mapping a Persecution” flowchart that places Assange at the center of a complicated universe of political figures and global corporations) to the conceptual (Chicks on Speed’s “In the Wall,” a set of USB keys sealed into the gallery wall, totally inaccessible yet known to the cheeky (Peng!’s “Call a Spy” phone, which purports to connect the user to one of 30,000 secret service agents from the US, UK, Russia, and others.
These pieces serve as a springboard for the series of meetups, workshops, lectures, and other participatory programs planned during the show’s 3-week run. Highlights include an AMA with Stella Assange (Julian’s wife), a hackathon to prototype p2p seeding units, movie screenings and musical performances, and other events to be announced. In other words: expect change and question everything.
Words by Connie Hwong