The Secret Race. A Play about the NSA.
Zeitgeist DC: with director Tobias Rosenberger and Dieter Dettke
Thursday, 20 February 2014, 6:30 pm
Goethe-Institut Washington, GoetheForum
+ 1 (202) 289-1200
Germany, 2013, 27 min., Director: Tobias Rosenberger, Cast: Malte Scholz (from Pullach, Germany, headquarters of the intelligence agency of the German government) as Tyler Hamilton, "Schmitt" + "The NSA" as Lance Armstrong, "The Chinese" as Team Festina and "Other Fuckers" as Other Fuckers
Discussion follows the screening with director Tobias Rosenberger and Dieter Dettke, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University. Dieter Dettke is a foreign and security policy specialist focusing on German and European security issues and Transatlantic relations. He teaches at Georgetown University.
"I can feel for the NSA. I understand what it is, and where it is. They made the same choice all of us made, to work for the security and well-being of their nation. Then they started to become more important in recent years and it got out of control, and the apparatus got bigger and bigger. Now they have no choice. They have to keep hiding, to keep trying to convince people to move on. They can't go back. They can't tell the truth. They are trapped." – Tobias Rosenberger
It was pure coincidence that for a few days in the summer of 2013, two unrelated events simultaneously dominated the major headlines in the German press: the monitoring and spying scandal of 2013, triggered by Edward Snowden’s leaks of National Security Agency top-secret classified documents, and the official acknowledgement of the prevalence of doping in competitive sports, best symbolized by Lance Armstrong’s televised confession. One is quickly struck by the substantial parallels between these two seemingly different situations: the existence of a rule of silence and the resulting significance of key witnesses or informants (whistleblowers).
Based on Tyler Hamilton’s autobiography The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs, this filmed performance is an artistic experiment about monitoring and spying. It indirectly raises questions such as: What may actually be at stake in the 21st century? How do we define truth today? And: who reads the following words, and how do they interpret them?
Nowadays, anyone who wants to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when it is suppressed everywhere; the wisdom to recognize it, although it is concealed everywhere; the skill to use it as a weapon; the judgment to choose those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such people. (Bertolt Brecht)
Tobias Rosenberger (b. 1980) is a German media artist who works at the crossroads of media art, visual arts, and performance. He has produced art works in Yemen, Spain, Mexico, India, and Ukraine. Since 2012 he has been based in China, where he teaches at the College of New Media Art, Shanghai Institute of Visual Art.