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This was performed during our rally in #Düsseldorf on August 10 in front of the US consulate.
The starting point of this performance is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave which I adapted to #JulianAssange ‘s and #ChelseaManning ‘s ongoing persecution.
As a reminder: the Allegory relates the story of a group of prisoners who spend their lives chained, unable to turn their head around. There is a fire and people behind them who are holding figures and objects which cast shadows on a wall in front the prisoners.
During their whole live, these prisoners will never ever see the fire or the figures and objects themselves.
They also hear echoes of conversation and sounds but never a true voice or word. That’s what shapes their perception of the world.
In this performance we decided to have a “blackbox” printed with logos of mass media. A tube leads to the prisoner’s spine and handcuffs them. He’s wearing glasses to protect his eyes from #truth.
Visually the prisoner is fed with selected information, a fraction, but won’t get access to an alternative version, reality itself.
Let’s suppose someone undoes the “cable” chains. In this performance it’s a #whistleblower who knows the outside world. He needs to blow the whistle several times until the prisoner, used to stay passive, reacts. He frees the prisoner.
The prisoner needs some kind of rehab to start to move, to walk again. The #whistleblower offers assistance. The whistleblower lures the prisoner to the blackbox. The prisoner explores the path with his hands. He can’t take a look at the box because he’s still blinded.
The whistleblower removes the glasses. The prisoner is puzzled. He needs to adapt & realize that his knowledge was an illusion. The blackbox' inside is a puppethouse, a one-dimensional world which separates between good and bad. The balance of powers shown there is exaggerated.
Next, the #whistleblower lures the prisoner to the entry of the cave. The prisoner is still hesitating. He finally crosses the threshold, the border, and is again blinded by the intense, natural light. He’s shocked, thrilled, but also euphoric.
He realizes the world is limitless, there's no frame, no wall like in a “Truman Show”. He wants to share his wisdom with the others & makes his way back. He’s again disoriented because of the darkness. He faces rejection, the others prefer the comfort, try to silence him
In our performance we break the microcosm. The former prisoner releases the others, he gives them a voice, the freedom to communicate, to act. He removes the plasters on their mouths. He gathers them all around him, they take each other by the hand.
The actors put on their #Assange und #Manning masks, move directly towards the camera and break the 4th wall, which separates them from the audience. The actors shout “Don’t shoot the messenger”, #NoExtradition, #FreeAssangeNOW, #FreeManningNOW.
At the end, the hourglass is taken upside down and releases a flow of #WikiLeaksArt which is spread on the ground. It’s also metaphoric: #WikiLeaks enables a direct access for the public to a flow of documents of general interest.
The outcry „I’m with WikiLeaks”, #WeAreAllJulianAssange” closes the performance and sends a last message, a call for solidarity with #WikiLeaks and #JulianAssange.
Plato wants to highlight the consequences of lack of education for mental freedom, values. Knowledge is a liberating process. Thanks to #whistleblowers like #ChelseaManning, #WikiLeaks, #journalism in a way leads to the essence of things, #truth, in contrast with stereotypes
In the end, the prisoner, we, need help to wake up, to question the picture. This help comes in the form of #whistleblowers #truthtellers, investigative journalists, who ring the alarm which often may sound uncomfortable, loud, and raise the curtain.
This wake-up call is vital if we wish to be informed about injustice of any kind (environmental, political, economic, aso.), about how and why it happens.
If #whistleblowers and journalists can’t carry out their duty because of weakening, disappearing #pressfreedom, we won’t be aware of these issues anymore or able to take action. This is the end of our democracy.
Ironically, the messenger #Assange finds himself trapped in a "cave", isolated like the prisoners, cut off from society and communication, from sunlight for many years. According to #JohnPilger he remains isolated in Belmarsh, too.
To conclude a quote by #Assange: "even where words are silenced, creativity can transcend censorship.” It’s tragic that nowadays, in our western democracy, we see ourselves obliged to address these concerns through art; #pressfreedom is the building block of our democracy.
I’d like to thank all participants (camera, photographer, hourglass producer, #FreeAssangeCommitteeGermany) and actors; this performance is a collective and open one, anyone may join or modify and adapt the pitch – feel free to ask.
After yesterday’s shocking news about #JeremyHammond, I, we would like to dedicate this thread to him as well as to all brave truthtellers - #MattDeHart, #LibertyWinner, #Snowden, #SuzieDawson, #FreeManning. They are Millions. We Are Millions. We’re one. #FreeAssangeNOW
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