Anything to Say? unveiled in Berlin

Last week artist Dav­ide Dormino unveiled his sculp­ture cel­eb­rat­ing whis­tleblowers in Alex­an­der­platz, Ber­lin.

Called “Any­thing to Say?”, the sculp­ture depicts Chelsea Man­ning, Edward Snowden and Juli­an Assange stand­ing on three chairs, with an empty fourth chair beside them, upon which we are all encour­aged to stand up on and speak our truth.

Dav­ide invited me to do just that for the unveil­ing cere­mony, along with Ger­man MP for the Green Party and whis­tleblower sup­port­er, Hans Chris­ti­an Stroebele and Wikileaks’ Sarah Har­ris­on. Here’s a report:

Anything_to_Say?_sculpture_unveiled_in_Berlin from Annie Machon on Vimeo.

European Media Art Festival (EMAF), Osnabrueck

The 27th European Media Art Fest­iv­al began this even­ing in Osnab­rueck, Ger­many. In the wake of all the glob­al intel­li­gence whis­tleblow­ing that has gone on over the last few years, the theme for the artists of 2014 is “We, the Enemy”.

Do vis­it if you can — a lot of inter­est­ing and polit­ic­al art install­a­tions are on dis­play, as well as films, music, and talks.  I shall be doing a talk on speak­ing on Fri­day after­noon.

I had the pleas­ure of mak­ing a short speech at the open­ing cere­mony this even­ing, and did an inter­view for nation­al Ger­man TV chan­nel ARD last night to pub­li­cise the fest­iv­al.

ueberwachungskunst

Uber­wachungs kunst from Annie Machon on Vimeo.

Art; Signs of the Times

’Signs of the Times, A coded his­tory of alpha­bets and com­mu­nic­a­tion’ is a series of works by artist Paul Flack who col­lab­or­ated with me on hid­den mes­sages and codes in art:

Inspired by the com­plex evol­u­tion of alpha­bets, words and sym­bols sculptor Paul Flack has been inter­ested in lan­guage and its mean­ing for many years. Cryptic mean­ing suf­fuses his work, which is a blend of words and sym­bols from many dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Hiero­glyphs and runes jostle for space with mod­ern alpha­bets and bin­ary code on painted can­vasses, stone carvings and sculp­tures. The out­come is a flu­id mix­ture of man-made mean­ing and uni­ver­sal, geo­met­ric shapes.

Paul’s col­lab­or­a­tion with Annie Machon — a lead­ing civil liber­ties act­iv­ist and former MI5 intel­li­gence officer — has enabled him to take his under­stand­ing of codes, cen­sor­ship and the secret­ive side of lan­guage to a new level.

We live in an age of spoon-fed inform­a­tion and extreme cen­sor­ship. I want people to think about the ori­gins of lan­guage and how it binds cul­tures togeth­er, as opposed to sep­ar­at­ing them” — Paul Flack

It’s a cliché, but you really shouldn’t believe everything you read. His­tory is writ­ten by the vic­tori­ous and today’s rul­ing élite is cer­tainly no less ruth­less in its approach to secrecy and cen­sor­ship.” — Annie Machon

If this sounds a bit con­tro­ver­sial, all the bet­ter. Some altern­at­ive views of recent events are encoded into the work, and if you look hard enough you will find them.

“Of course, what you do with the inform­a­tion is up to you,” — Paul Flack

Coda: Sadly, Paul died unex­pec­tedly in 2008.  His was a rare and beau­ti­ful spir­it, and he is much missed by his many friends.