Sensitive Data - The Art of Surveillance

Kunst der Überwachung © Bennet Perez ©  © Bennet Perez Grafik_Kunst der Überwachung © Bennet Perez

Symposium

January 20-22, 2017
Venue: Münchner Kammerspiele

Since Edward Snowden blew the whistle that awakened the world to the magnitude of surveillance, has anything changed? Most people surf the web without protecting their profiles and do not have time to read through reams of terms and conditions before passing on their data to third parties. And in the hubbub of Internet traffic, intelligence agencies run the risk of missing the whisperings of real bombmakers. Much has stayed the same. Bestsellers advise people to be cautious in the digital world; the Black Lives Matter movement uses CCTV cameras as a defence against police violence; and in India, the government has resisted a social network. In Germany, in the meantime, a discussion has sprung up about the role of the secret service. And in the wake of the US presidential election, there has been a wide-ranging debate over the role of leaked emails. In the swirling vortex of the present, this international conference, curated by Tobi Müller and Sarah Harrison (Wikileaks), sheds light on the history of privacy and public life. Before complaining about those who strip off on the Internet, the desire of being seen should not be repressed. Because one thing is certain: Someone is always watching us. Perhaps it’s you?

Sensitive Data - The Art of Surveillance is part of Sensitive Data, a long-term international project by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education, Münchner Kammerspiele, and Bard College.

Audio and Video Recordings at the Symposium

Bots, Fake News und Big Data: Das Ende der Demokratie? © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


Bots, Fake News and Big Data: The End of Democracy? (in German)

Opinions vary widely as to the influence of bots, fake news and big data on elections, public opinion, and democracy. Yvonne Hofstetter owns a big data company and is concerned about both external influences and surveillance.

10 Years of Wikileaks © bpb


10 Years of Wikileaks: Transparency Under Attack (in German)

To some, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is a hero. WikiLeaks has been criticized, however, for the role it played during the US presidential election. What is more important - the truth of the documents or the interests of the sources?

anama Papers und Wikileaks: Wie gehen Journalisten mit geheimen Informationen um? (deutsch) © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


Panama Papers and Wikileaks: How do Journalists Handle Secret Information? (in German)

Frederick Obermaier is one of the journalists behind the publication of the Panama Papers. He and other international journalists evaluated countless documents from an anonymous source. We wanted to know how a journalist handles such a situation.

Mit Überwachung gegen Rassismus (deutsch) © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


Cell Phones Against Injustice: Surveillance, Racism & Black Lives Matter (in German)

Capturing police abuses per cell phone plays a big role in challenging institutionalized racism in the US. Adam Elliott-Cooper studies the relationship between police and society - and warns that technical solutions aren't impervious to racist cliches.

Friends at the Keyhole © bpb


Friends at the Keyhole: Germany and the NSA (in German)

In March 2014 the German government established a committee to investigate the so-called NSA Affair. The main question: How can intelligence services be democratically regulated? And which threat is more serious: the NSA or cyber attacks? 

Mass Surveillance Doesn't Prevent Attacks © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


William Binney and the NSA: Why I Became a Whistleblower!

William Binney is one of the first and most famous of the whistleblowers who turned their backs on the NSA. Binney departed the NSA shortly after 9/11, and has been cautioning society since then about the dangers inherent in borderless, uncontrolled surveillance.

Future Shock: Big Cities, Smart Data © bpb


Future Shock: Big Cities, Smart Data

Who will regulate the city of the future: when we rent out our living quarters online to maintain our standard of living, when an app replaces public transit in small cities, when the traffic of our digital transactions is used by private companies that take over governmental responsibilities?

Future Shock: Big Cities, Smart Data © bpb


Gatekeeping Across Borders

In the early days of the Internet, many dreamed of a society without boundaries. Today, the so-called gatekeepers, the guards regulating the access to and sorting of the information, haven't disappeared. Instead, they are more powerful than before. Google and Facebook play a role in determining what we see.

Controlling the Guard: The Tactical Technology Collective © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


Controlling the Guard: The Tactical Technology Collective (in German)

Surveillance is a highly technical topic. The Tactical Technology Collective, known as Tactical Tech, wants to change that with its interdisciplinary approach. Using artists, hackers and activitis, the collective aims to make the issue more approachable.

Seeing and Being Seen © bpb


Seeing and Being Seen: Surveillance as Self-Defense (in German)

Eavesdropping doesn't just occur in private. What role do cameras play in protesting police brutality? Does an individual have any say when his sovereignty is taken away?

Create Your Profile: Political Art and Technology © bpb


Create Your Profile: Political Art and Technology (in German)

When art responds politically, does it become a focus of secret service attention? Theater director Angela Richter has spoken with whistleblowers around the world.

Art, Politics and Activism © Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung


Uniting with Art Against Surveillance? Political art and Activism (in German)

Can art do anything against surveillance? How political can and should art be? When is art activitism, and activism art? Florian Malzacher is a dramaturge and curator with a special focus on the interface between art and activism.

Future Shock: Big Cities, Smart Data © bpb


Wrapup Discussion for the Symposium "Sensitive Data"

Nishant Shah and Renata Avila let the weekend run its course before they finally confronted curators Sarah Harrison and Tobi Müller - and the audience - with the big question: What can we do?

Panel discussions

Friday, January 20


WITH TOBI MÜLLER, SARAH HARRISON, MATTHIAS LILIENTHAL, THOMAS KRÜGER (BUNDESZENTRALE FÜR POLITISCHE BILDUNG), JOHANNES EBERT (GOETHE-INSTITUT), ALICE LAGAAY (PHILOSOPHIN), FRIEDRICH LENGER (HISTORIKER), MICHAEL GEORGE (CYBER-ALLIANZ-ZENTRUM BAYERN), NIAMH BARRETO (FREE SPEECH FEAR FREE)

IN GERMAN AND ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

When we talk about surveillance, privacy and secrecy, we are usually only referring to the Internet. We are referring to the present and the recent past. Often for justified reasons, digitalisation has opened up new dimensions of controllability in the world at a frenzied pace. These dimensions will be surmised at the three-day conference, “Sensitive Data: The Art of Surveillance”. At the opening of this international conference, we turn our gaze away from the screen and look at modern history: on the basis of European urban development, historian Friedrich Lenger shows how long the relationship between privacy and the public realm has already been evolving. Philosopher Alice Lagaay makes a plea not to sacrifice the notion of secrecy too hastily because of the wish for transparency. Nowadays even teenagers know that there is more at stake than anonymous surfing: 15-year-old Niamh Barretto starred in the movie Free Speech Fear Free and talks to co-curator Sarah Harrison about what her hopes for the future.

 

The American singer and composer Holly Herndon attempts something in music that many people cannot imagine doing in real life: she regards the laptop as a part of her own body. Or as beloved prosthesis. So, on one hand, her art sounds cold and technoid (she spent her teenage years in Berlin clubs), but on the other, physical and intimate. In the song “Home”, on the album “Platform” (2015), she even speaks to the ‘controller’ whom she suspects lives in her machine: ‘Who are you? Why I have been chosen for you? I can feel you in my home. Do you like what I have done for you?’ Herndon’s beguiling machine-music is the soundtrack of the people of tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21


CONVERSATION WITH EVA BLUM-DUMONTET (PRIVACY INTERNATIONAL), KAUSTUBH SRIKANTH (TACTICAL TECH), ADAM ELLIOTT-COOPER (U.A. BLACK LIVES MATTER UK), MODERATION: WENZEL BILGER (GOETHE-INSTITUT)

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN
 
Der Lauschangriff erfolgt nicht immer im Geheimen. In Großbritannien hat man bereits lange Erfahrung mit öffentlichen Kameras. Im Online-Versand findet man leicht Programme, um Handys abzuhören. Und die lückenlose Überwachung mit Kameras prägt heute jedes Stadtbild. Können diese Blicke auch umgedreht werden? Welche Rolle spielen Kameras etwa im Kampf der Bewegung Black Lives Matter, um Polizeigewalt zu bezeugen? Beginnt die Handlungsmacht des Einzelnen gerade da, wo ihm seine Souveränität genommen wurde?
 

CONVERSATION WITH SARAH HARRISON, GEOFFROY DE LAGASNERIE (PHILOSOPH), FREDERIK OBERMAIER (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG), MODERATION: OLIVER BUSCHEK (U.A. BR)

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN

For some, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is a heroic figure. But during the course of the US presidency election campaign, WikiLeaks had to endure criticism, even from left-wing sources. Research professionals are currently asking what is more important: the veracity of documents or the interests of sources? This panel is an authority on the subject: Sarah Harrison is a prominent collaborator of WikiLeaks, Frederik Obermaier from the Süddeutsche Zeitung contributed significantly to the publication of Panama Papers and French philosopher, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, wrote about Assange and his associates in a book entitled: The Art of Revolt.

CONVERSATION WITH MARTINA RENNER (UNTERSUCHUNGSAUSCHUSS), FRIEDRICH MOSER (DIRECTOR OF „A GOOD AMERICAN“), FRANK RIEGER (CHAOS COMPUTER CLUB), MODERATION: MARTIN ZEYN (BAYERN 2)

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN

Since March 2014, a Bundestag committee has formed to inquire into the NSA affair with the aim of “clarifying the extent and backgrounds of spying by foreign intelligence services in Germany”. More recently, the committee has even been interested in interrogating Edward Snowden himself in Germany. In political terms, this decision is controversial. At the core of the issue lies the fundamental question of how intelligence services can be regulated democratically, both at home and abroad. And which threat is greater: the NSA or cyberattacks?

IMPULSE LECTURE BY EVGENY MOROZOV, TALK WITH EVGENY MOROZOV AND YVONNE HOFSTETTER, MODERATION: RENATA AVILA

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN

Who will govern the cities of the future? What will happen if we rent out our apartments online so we can maintain our standard of living? And if an app replaces public transport in small towns? And if our digital traffic benefits private companies who take over functions that used to be public? Evgeny Morozov from the Silicon Valley is one of the most famous critics of developments like these. Yvonne Hofstetter is the director of a Munich-based company that works with big data, and writes bestsellers such as The End of Democracy - How artificial intelligence is taking over politics and incapacitating us .

LIVE VIDEO FEED WITH EDWARD SNOWDEN – IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN
 
EDWARD SNOWDEN is still in exile in Moscow. In a video interview, he explains among other things what unjustified surveillance has done to the world in his opinion – a practice which he pointed out back in 2013. He also demonstrates why this is not the way to make the world safer. Afterwards, Snowden’s lawyer in Europe, WOLFGANG KALECK, will take part in a panel discussion with BEN WIZNER of the American Civil Liberties Union and SARAH HARRISON, who brought Snowden to safety. What are the chances of a European country granting Snowden asylum? Short video clips deliver responses from Munich passers-by on questions such as: Do you accept that more surveillance is necessary for more security? Do you feel monitored? Are you doing anything to prevent this? And the economic journalist from San Francisco, CHRISTOPH DRÖSSER, explains how algorithms can and can’t locate terrorists. A choir from the ensemble of Kammerspiele warns against the dark side of power.

Sunday, January 22


CONVERSATION WITH FLORIAN MALZACHER, ANGELA RICHTER, PLAN B (SOPHIA NEW, DANIEL BELASCO), MODERATION: MARTIN ZEYN (BAYERN 2)

IN GERMAN WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO ENGLISH

If art becomes political once more and leaves the forum of the theatre, then will it enter the sights of intelligence service interests? We ask director Angela Richter, who has held conversations with whistle-blowers around the world. Is it conceivable that we are leaving the comfort zone of observing art by working with socially sharper tools? We ask festival director Florian Malzacher who has published several books on the performing arts at the interface to activism. And how does one turn one’s own geographic digital traces into art, as the British performance group plan b does in Berlin?
 

TALK BY NISHANT SHAH: “THE DESIRE TO BE SEEN: POLITICS OF INCLUSION IN THE FACE OF FREE BASICS” / CONVERSATION WITH RENATA AVILA, NISHANT SHAH AND OTHERS

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN

In the infancy of the Internet, many dreamed of a society without borders. Today, this is only possible to maintain for obscenely high fees. So-called gatekeepers, guards that access and sort information, have not disappeared. On the contrary, they are more powerful than ever. Google or Facebook partly decide for us what we see. In parts of Africa, Facebook provides Internet access via mobile phones to – for free, but on certain terms. The blue monolith has failed to enter the market in India. Does this mean that the destitute are excluded from the network? And what would be the price for the right to be seen? Human rights lawyer Renata Avila from Guatemala and the cultural scientist Nishant Shah from India lead an expert discussion on digital participation.

CONVERSATION WITH NISHANT SHAH, RENATA AVILA, SARAH HARRISON, TOBI MÜLLER

IN ENGLISH WITH SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO GERMAN

Nishant Shah and Renata Avila review the weekend before they start on the biggest issue: What should we do? The public is strongly encouraged to provide valuable information. With the curators Sarah Harrison and Tobi Müller.
 

 

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