Mistrust authority, promote decentralization

Alec Empire, one of the founders of music collective Atari Teenage Riot, gave the keynote speech at the annual event of Chaos Computer Club 2014. The artist, who uses an old Atari 1040 ST for his compositions, talks about a variety of topics ranging from the beauty found in machine code and sheet music to the connections between the fight for privacy and the promotion of authors’ rights.

Drawing upon his personal experiences with streaming services and censorship in the music industry, he speaks out against passive consumerism and for an alliance between hackers, musicians and other artists to shape the digital culture of the future.

  • Date of recording: Sat, 2014-12-27
  • Language(s) spoken:

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00:13 Introduction

… old square analogue microphones. This is really politician-like.

(to the backstage team) You need to turn this up a little bit.

Do you remember this piece?

(to the backstage team)You can even turn it up a little bit more.

Hello and welcome to Hamburg! My name is Alec Empire and what you just heard was the music piece I wrote for last years’ anniversary opening video installation, the 30c3!

Those of you in the audience who couldn’t attend last year, there was a video installation that ran on multiple screens - it showed the 30 year history of the chaos computer club. The beginning - the 80ties, then the 90ties, when the internet became accessible for everyone, then the years after and now we’re here…this is really amazing for me to be here.

Thank you all for coming and thanks to the CCC for this invitation. Because I’m a musician, I’m not really a hacker. When I received it I have to admit it kind of blew me away to be invited here and speak to you. I assume most of you in the audience do not know who I am, and there is probably also a percentage of people here who want to forget that they’ve ever heard a song of me.
Okay, so… I want to quickly introduce myself. I am a musician, producer, composer, also sound engineer. I am the director of Digital Hardcore Recordings, which is a record label which is based in London. I am a member of Atari Teenage Riot, which is a collective of musicians. I was born in West-Berlin in the 70ties, so I experienced the Berlin Wall and its Fall, yes, I was very involved in the Techno and electronic music scene when it exploded in Europe via Berlin in the early 90ties. I mean I don’t want to go into this for too long - but basically I have been involved in the production of around 400 releases, worked with tons of musicians like Björk, Gary Numan, Rammstein, Primal Scream, Slayer, or even classical musicians like The Brotzki Quartett. The music press calls me a “sonic terrorist”.

I toured with Nine Inch Nails, Wu Tang Clan, Rage Against The Machine, Moby and many others. Here, if this works now, you see a poster from the late 90ties, and I think you get the idea where we stand politically. Here you see Trent Reznor wear an Atari Teenage Riot shirt … here is a legendary photo of Aphex Twin and as someone on the internet pointed out … in the corner there is a mysterious person sitting in the garage wearing an Atari Teenage Riot t-shirt. For years, I didn’t even notice this. Who was pulling the strings?

In the late 90ties the Beastie Boys put out an album by Atari Teenage Riot called “Burn Berlin Burn”, it went gold in the United States. The international release of “Burn Berlin Burn” was a slightly different version, and it was called “Delete Yourself”. So, the last 20 years of my life were an absolute ride.

07:47 Inspired by hacking

We are the collective, we try to stay off the grid as much as we can, because we know about the dangers of the music industry and its hype machine. It can swallow you and then it spits you out. And most artists can’t get back up again. When I spoke to Thorsten and Erdgeist, and a little bit to Frank, they told me that they wanted me to speak about my approach to music today, the political ideas and methods behind it because they are very unusual and have a lot in common with hacking. Usually musicians are inspired by other musicians, but we are inspired by hackers.

So there are three words: Atari - Teenage - Riot and I want to play you a little clip fom 1999’.

08:46 Video: Revolution Action

The video for the song “Revolution Action” was directed by Andrea Giacobbe. It opens with a shot of Wall Street and then the company faces a little technical problem. This was in 1999, and it’s maybe interesting for you to know that MTV UK banned it right away, because they feared that people would get epileptic fits or something like that. But actually MTV international did show it in many other countries. So over the past ten years the internet spread this video and - you saw an edited version of it now - and the internet is probably where most people saw it.

Atari Teenage Riot is not a band, that is often a misunderstanding. It’s more a lose collective of like minded musicians. What might be interesting for you to know is that we program every song on the Atari 1040 ST . Yes, the Atari 1040 ST, do you even remember this?. Who doesn’t even know this computer anymore? I guess the majority of you guys here. It has 2 MB RAM, it’s always a fucking pain to make music on it. It’s like solving a difficult math equation or something, but it’s great. It has a very fast and tight MIDI attack, and every year that passes it becomes a new challenge to drive this little thing in the red. But it’s also cheap at this point. 20 bucks maybe on ebay or something. You can create art and beauty on a computer, and I always say this to the musicians who are trying to figure out … learning the skills of a more traditional instrument.

13:23 Art as a weapon

And you can also use music and art as a weapon. William S. Burroughs wrote a text in the “Electronic Revolution” about how riot sound effects can produce riots when you play them in a riot situation. You simulate a riot, people hear the sounds, they change their behaviour, call the cops, the cops appear on the scene, and you have a riot.

When we started in 1992 the far right and neo-Nazi scene in Europe was on the rise, especially in Eastern Germany. We knew we had to fight against that, with music. So we decided to make electronic music on an Atari computer based on Burroughs’ text. Sampling technology was affordable at this point and we created these tracks that were almost collage- like. Back then the music scenes were pretty divided into groups like punks, ravers and metal fans, the hip-hop scene and so on. But our idea was to tear down those barriers and unite people from all genres for the politics. Fashion, race, sex, social background and so on shouldn’t exclude anyone from joining.

I still believe in this approach even though the music has to be adjusted from time to time to make this work. Germany just celebrated its 25th anniversary of the Fall of The Berlin Wall and again we see racist and fascist ideologies spread all over Europe. Anti-Semitism, attacks on Jewish people and the demonisation of Muslims. 20 years ago we hoped these problems would be solved by now, but they aren’t. It’s important that culture reacts to this and maybe even prevents this.

The physical aspect of the music is very important. Using frequencies that give the listener an adrenaline rush. When people hear music they often fall into certain patterns of behaviour. We have all witnessed this many times. You hear a Christmas song, your brain switches immediately. Or when soldiers hear the national anthem, their body language changes very fast. Weddings, funerals, supermarkets, rock concerts, raves, birthdays and so on… Be aware of those, become immune to them, and you are in less danger of being tricked into something.

And for those of you who never attended an Atari Teenage Riot show, this is what it looks like.

16:32 Video of audience at Fusion Berlin 2010

This footage was filmed by visual artist Zan Lyons who was there to take some photos first but then switched to filming when the crowd start to tear down the barriers. This was filmed at Fusion festival near Berlin. It’s a festival which is completely corporate sponsor free that we played in 2010. These things still exist, and I think it’s important to support them and go there.
Last August we premiered a video at the EFF event at Defcon in Las Vegas in the US, which was this one.

19:27 Video clip: Modern Liars

I wish we had these comments during our shows, so people would know what to do.
In the video animated by Rob McLellan we wanted to use a 90ties style video game aesthetics to criticise sexism in video games, the entertainment industry and how it creates stupid rivalries between creatives. A few weeks later, the whole gamergate thing happened, so we were slightly off-time with this video, I think. A little bit later, it would have been a good commentary, maybe. This was also an edited version, the whole thing is longer of course, so the message is becoming clearer when you see the whole thing.

23:33 Why isn’t there more protest music?

I often get asked by people from the hacking community: “Why is it that not more musicians participate or help?” Okay, people have maybe some friends who do some music but I think we can agree that since that since that Metallica and Napster fight, musicians and artists don’t really want to get involved. But I think they should. Often people ask me: “Why isn’t there more protest music?”
There’s that triangle that a lot of creatives use: High Quality-High Speed-Low Cost.

You can never have the three… it’s just reality of the creative process - now think about what happens , and make no mistake about it, because it is happening now, since a few years , so what happens when you try to do it with zero cost… it’s almost like you are freezing culture.
Now we could argue: If creativity is a resource, and compare it to fuel let’s say, then it is limited and it can run out. When there is nothing left to loot. Decentralisation. But we are witnessing the exact opposite of that.

Jaron Lanier often gets criticised for his view and analysis of the situation but he is right and it’s a fact. This philosophy, this thinking has led to a notch curve, a very tiny amount of people become very rich in this scheme, everybody else loses or is driven out of business. It used to more like a bell curve, more equal, fairer, it empowered the creatives, it brought us the music we love and all musicians creating music right now in the digital age depend on that second half of the last century for musical references - the era when recorded music flourished.

So but then people say: “But wait , Alec, we rode horses and then cars were invented and everything got improved…” I never fully agreed with that comparison. I don’t think it really works here. And you can really identify a con man when you hear him argue this way, it’s just too simple. If this was true, then the work of the greatest music composers in history would be shared the most, people would understand complex music more and faster. But the exact opposite is the case. Music education was the first that was cut in most countries since the financial crisis. The reality is that young people today only hear something like classical music in a soundtrack for blockbuster movies like Transformers instead of learning and understanding it via the internet.

Even popular mainstream artists who make pop music can only survive if they enter into, in my opinion, very compromising corporate sponsoring deals. Independent artists are doing other jobs by now and can’t take any risks. In this system, it gets harder and harder to speak out. It is well known that if we look at the charts that the majority of artists are coming from upper class or upper middle class backgrounds. Even Noel Gallagher of Oasis pointed this out in an interview with the BBC a few weeks ago.

Many artists don’t like corporate sponsoring because it corrupts creativity. I think they are right. Because once you enter these agreements, your mind starts to think in a different way. Think of a politician who knows he/she took bribes but acts in the media like he/she was ‘employed by the people’, and works ‘for the people’. So artists or those who work with artists access culture funds, government funds, especially in Europe.

We all know when libertarians, especially those from Silicon Valley, say “We don’t pay people. Not our problem, let somebody else worry about that.” Well these companies are basing their businesses on the tax payer repairing the damage. That is just a reality right now.

So we have created a system in which we are not driving creativity anymore by voting with our dollar, we handed that power over to bureaucrats and corporations. Those people don’t like to see political ideas expressed by creatives because it could get them in trouble. I really want you to understand this because I honestly believed and I think many of you believed the same thing two decades ago: We thought this problem was solved already. Solved distribution by the internet and the rest would work itself out somehow.

Maybe it was for a little while but things got out of balance again. It’s not so easy to point out the gatekeepers anymore in this more complex world, but they are out there and they are very busy, and they have adapted to our times. When I started, I strongly believed in this principle: political art becomes corrupt when it becomes part of a corporate ad campaign. The context matters so much that it can shut down an artist forever because we stop trusting their words.

30:04 Video-mix of Julian Assange at Occupy London and ATR music clips

So that was quite interesting. This is from 2011. So we were going on the US tour, and we needed a video, and the video directors that we wanted to work with didn’t have time enough to do it, for the beginning of the tour to have it ready. So we tried to do this typical kind of ‘viral’ thing involving the fans, but what is quite interesting is that we got sent a lot of this kind of clips by Anonymous activists and we put up the first version of the video, went on tour, and every city we played in America, about a week or two weeks after, there was an Occupy protest. I don’t think that we caused it, but it was very interesting to see how a pretty boring idea in the first place became something that connected activists, basically on a global level. This is also where I met most hackers, like, from that scene, let’s call it like that, for the first time, backstage, and it was a very exciting thing. And it ended with that third version that you’ve just seen, where we even got this footage from WikiLeaks, and because it was a free song we thought: “Why not add this donation thing to the video?”

But then, a few months later, and I don’t want to make this too long, because it’s a really long story and Quinn Norton once did a great piece on it in Wired, I think you can still read it online… Of course the music industry, the corporate music industry reacts to that stuff. And they are linked also to selling devices.

35:38 Video of advertising for PS Vita console with ATR music

So, this was aired on American television in February 2012. The thing is, they used our music which, if you work with a publisher, you can kind of work it out, the money comes to you as a composer or as a band, or whatever. So what we did to react to it - we donated this, it was quite a lot of money I think, to freeanons.org, to the fund, and yeah. The thing is, I kind of wanted to keep it quiet and do it without any publicity, but the same weekend that this ad aired on American television, there were a lot of arrests. So of course the Anonymous scene, or I don’t know what exactly you call it at this point, a lot of people tweeted about this and it was like a little win in that situation.

37:55 Information wants to be free

Information wants to be free. Music is like language. There are so many layers of information in a music piece that most of us can only understand a fraction of what is actually communicated. Before music could be recorded, people wrote it down, so other people far away were able to play it. I am still blown away by the fact how amazing music notation actually is and has worked since centuries. When you look at sheets of let’s say a symphony of Beethoven or Bach, there is a beauty that some of us feel when we look at code, that’s what I was told by some hackers. It is almost like something very deep inside of us understands something before we can even explain that to a colleague or a friend.

I was always interested in the personality, the character of the creator that would shine through in those works. Even when these were anonymous, the work could tell me so much, I could look at the world from a different perspective, like I was looking through them. Empathy is the key word here. For most people using the internet now it means defending your own world view, staying strong while standing in a shit storm, reading articles or comments that just confirm your opinion. Empathy is something that is hard to learn or to find right now. One thing I just read a few days ago on twitter, and I really liked it, was the statement from Tor about the bullying and all that stuff. And I think to remind ourselves of that is so important. Some people are so cynical at this point that they don’t think it matters, but I think it really does.

So it’s well known that Mozart embedded secret codes in his compositions that would link to the Free Masons for example. Music was always open, but you had to train your ears to decipher the information embedded in it. When I wrote this little anniversary piece for last year’s opening video that we heard in the beginning I knew I had to start with three C’s and I have to admit it was the first time that I ever did that. Usually children songs or Christmas songs start like that, and in my world it’s taboo. It was: How can I make this kind of ‘cool’?

We all know that when different musicians play from the same note sheet, they will all sound different. The better they are, the more their own personality shines through. We can later analyse these differences, for example with technology or software, but what we can’t do is to predict those micro-decisions that an artist will make when creativity is happening. Too many factors of the universe are influencing that process and its outcome is always different. Yes, you can copy someone else, that is happening all the time, but every once in a while there are artists, people who do something so special that they seize the time. Historically, collectives have suppressed those people, because they did not fit in.

But I hear people saying to me:”But Alec, every creative act is just a copy of a copy of a copy. Authors just write down what other people say, painters just paint what the world shows to them.”
We all have heard this idea in all its variations before. Especially when tech giants want to justify monetisation of their users’ creations, monetisation that just takes from their users without giving anything back. Instagram is a very good example for that. And I keep hearing the same simplification again and again and it is dangerous.

42:15 Fight for privacy and creators’ rights

Because it is an open attack on the rights and freedoms of the individual. And when you question those ‘new’ business models, the corporate PR machinery kicks in and peer pressure is applied to shut critics up. In my opinion, the fight for privacy, the fight against surveillance and the fight for creators’ rights have a lot in common, they are linked, they are connected. Authorities, corporate or political, who invade your privacy are also the ones who seize the products of your mind. That’s why open source and creative commons are great because those who participate in those adventures do it with consent.

In my opinion, sharing mp3s creates passive consumers, I say share your whole recording sessions so people can look at how the beats were programmed, which combinations of notes and frequencies trigger those feelings that you like. This way people learn and understand and we can all start moving forward. When I started Atari Teenage Riot in 1992 I wanted to take the revolutionary spirit of punk and digitise that so it could be transported into our time and hopefully be preserved so future generations could further develop it. When I use the word punk I don’t mean a certain look, fashion or music genre, I mean something that can be of course found in punk fashion or the music genre punk, but I mean this virus that makes people question authorities and control systems. Usually universities don’t produce those minds. But these minds are needed to bring necessary change or innovation.

I think the hacker world is full of those, but the music world? Platforms like YouTube and Facebook do not produce them, they make it impossible for these minds to get anywhere. The only interesting artists were those who knew how to trick the system, fake stats, they thought like hackers. Introverts have created some of the most important works in the history of mankind, and introverts do not fit into a system that has the goal to generate the most clicks in order to sell ads. This system favours those who come up with the loudest and most conformist content fast. We can all sit back and enjoy when things get even more absurd but deep down we all know that it is all very short sighted and it even goes against the hacker ethics.

45:20 Against passive consumerism

To create art and beauty on a computer. I always loved the phrase that I saw on one of the Anonymous twitter accounts a few years ago: “On the internet you can be anything you want. It’s strange that so many people choose to be stupid.” I think you heard about this. But it’s also true like “On the internet you can consume anything you want, and it’s strange that so many people choose to consume something stupid.” And you can replace ‘consume’ with ‘produce’ and it will also make sense.

Most creatives produce for a target audience, an audience that is already defined by the content industry. It’s understandable that one wants to minimise any risk beforehand. Netflix praised this when the series “House of Cards” became successful with their viewers. Critics say that its success had probably more to do with the fact that it was based on the great original BBC series. So not as innovative as Breaking Bad for example.

I noticed something interesting - in the media and by talking to other people about it, there was always that underlying idea that the algorithms are so smart and precise at this point, when they tell you: you will like this, yes, you will totally like this. And many people accept that without even questioning it.

Are too many people becoming passive consumers again? Like our parents’ generation? High approval ratings prove that content is of high quality? If we are honest than then we must admit that most people make a judgment by looking at stats and comments before they have read the article, watched the video, or listened even to the song.While culture is becoming more fragmented, we see an even more centralized accumulation of power when it comes to who is deciding over the future of the internet and how the majority of average people actually use it or have access to it.
I know very well that I am speaking to probably exactly the - I don’t know how many people are here but - 9.000 of people on the planet right now who have not stepped into those traps, you are very conscious about how you use technology.

47:56 The crushed spirit of a generation and the power of culture

I am saying this to you because at this point one could argue that we are losing the war here, even though some smaller battles are won here and there every once in a while, but the bigger picture? I think it looks dark. I remember last year, the 30th anniversary, I couldn’t attend but I felt it on the other side of the world. The Snowden revelations killed all doubts of what we’re up against here.
It was a reality shock, some even compared it to events like 9/11. There is the time before and after you got hit with the news. Everyone wanted to celebrate the 30 years of this great club and then this. I admit that I was depressed on a constant basis since the summer of 2013. What depressed me most wasn’t the magnitude of the surveillance, it was how I witnessed a young generation that was so excited about democracy and the possibilities to improve it with technology, I witnessed how the spirit of that generation was crushed within almost a few weeks it seemed.

Hopelessness, cynicism and frustration spread like a virus. But the worst thing was that indifference from most people out there, people we really needed to mobilize those masses who make the difference in the end. To get the snowball rolling, turn it into an avalanche. I didn’t even feel like I wanted to perform anymore, our new album was just finished, we were setting up its release, preparing videos, getting all the tools ready. But the energy that everyone felt in 2010, 2011 and perhaps even in 2012 seemed gone. I think even the decline of the Pirate Party in Germany kind of shows that, too.

In the first hours of when the Snowden story broke I tweeted this: “I’m surprised how indifferent so many feel about the US surveillance scandal. Look up Germany’s history. I have spoken to people who lived in Nazi and Eastern Socialist Germany - the spying on your life by the State is one thing, but what it does to your friends and family in the long run is beyond anything you can imagine right now.You lose trust in people you love, every conversation becomes half lie/ half truth. It becomes part of EVERYBODY’s lives. Nobody is an exception. Ignore music, games or whatever you do right now and research the topic. Anything you have said in the past can be twisted against you in a surveillance state. Made the wrong joke in ‘private’? You are constantly being blackmailed by those in ‘charge’. History has shown that these types of societies never last, they get so corrupted with lies that many people will suffer in the end. Everybody loses.”

That was in the summer of 2013. My words resonated with many people in the online community. Even the Green Party contacted me, asked if I could see myself somehow working with them. I said no. And actually let me make one thing very clear right now: if you are a politician and you wonder why people are disillusioned with politics and don’t vote… Yes, we don’t trust you anymore.
And in these situations I can’t thank everyone in the CCC enough for their hard work, commitment and passion. Let me say this as a musician, and I speak for many when I say this: People like us, we don’t understand every technical aspect of this stuff but what the CCC does sends a strong message and gives people hope out there. And that is very important right now. The right to privacy is very important for creative people. Culture can be a very strong weapon.

Even though at this point most of the information was known, feeling the atmosphere together with likeminded people in this old cinema in former East Berlin energized me again. You know, Jacob Applebaum invited me to the premiere of the film Citizen Four. I don”t know if you have seen the film yet. It’s a great documentary and I think everyone here kind of knows that, but I want to point something else out today. When I sat in this packed cinema next to Frank Rieger and all the other guys, the room was filled with amazing people who deeply cared about this topic, and then Laura spoke to the audience and so on, I was so glad that I didn’t watch a crappy stream on my own in my cubicle. So when things look hopeless, remember to use culture, bring people together, share time and space together.

Here is a photo of protestors in Tokyo during the Fukushima rallies in 2011. It says “Anti Tepco Riot” . So if you are an artist, be open and let others develop your art further. It’s ok to let go sometimes, if you disagree of something just create new stuff and move forward.

53:50 Streaming services and control for creatives

I was just told I have ten more minutes. Damn, I really want to speak about something that happens to me with Spotify. I hope I have enough time, because you might have heard it. In 2014 more and more artists started to speak out against streaming services like Spotify. Usually it is about royalties - I will not go into this too much right now, it is clear to everyone who can do basic math that these services are not the future business models, because they don’t put any money back into the hands of the musicians. These systems can’t be maintained.

But I want to tell you my experience with Spotify. In 1997 Atari Teenage Riot released an album on the Beastie Boys label called “Future of War”. It was the album that introduced us to the world. Its sales reached gold status, critics praised it as possibly the strongest musical anti-fascist statement to come out of Germany. For many it’s still the blue print of what can be done with a computer when it comes to pushing the limits of sound, connecting political lyrics with very physical music. Songs from it still get played at protests around the world. Influential music blog Stereogum rates it at number 9 of the loudest albums ever, to put this in perspective for you: ACDC is at 19, Aphex Twin at 16, Motorhead at 13.

What is perhaps interesting for some of you, we printed the recording set up in the booklet so more cyberpunks could join the digital hardcore movement. So 6 years later, in 2003, our label received a 40 page document from this institution in Germany called Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien. This album was suddenly put on the index. And they explained it over 40 pages. To give you an example of what they were criticising: African born rapper Carl Crack sings “I have a fear of a white planet”, he was expressing his experiences with racism growing up in Germany where he was often the only black child and had trouble ‘fitting in’. A reason for the Bundesprüfstelle to shut him up, they argued that people of “caucasian skin color” or something are being discriminated against here.
You read this stuff, first you laugh about it, and when you get to page 18 you get so mad that you want to burn this thing. And I think people who work on video games know what I am talking about! What does the index mean: You are forbidden to sell the music, or play it in public. It’s a form of censorship. What actually happened was that a teacher in Bavaria found the CD with one of his students and reported it. Classic scenario where an outsider who doesn’t look deeper into something, takes action against something he doesn’t understand.

It would have been easy to contact us, maybe even get us in the class room to clear this up. But no. Ok how Germany deals with anti-fascist art is one thing, but now it gets even better. Years pass, the internet, thanks to Pirate Bay and the fans people can access the music, we didn’t even care about the index anymore. I made my peace with this whole thing and moved on. Ten years passed when suddenly we receive a notice from Spotify that we have been flagged. Because they were notified by the Bundesprüfstelle. We were given an ultimatum: We remove this album from Spotify or the whole catalogue of the whole label will get removed. We are not even talking about Germany, we are talking worldwide and all other artists on the label!

So my guys from the label put a call in, hoping to talk to a human being so we can clear this up. The woman on the other end looking at her screen explains that “this happens to bands who use Nazi references in their songs.” So my label manager explains that this artist Atari Teenage Riot has not only one anti-Nazi song, all the music for over 2 decades was written to fight Nazi ideology and he offered to send in evidence, like song lyrics, articles etc. So the Spotify woman’s answer was: “You know, Nazi or anti-Nazi, it doesn’t matter, you’re being flagged. We won’t change anything.” So, for now, we decided to remove it because we didn’t want the other artists to suffer too. We are still looking into taking legal action.

So whenever marketing people try to convince you that you should have one service host all content for you, in the cloud, convenient, keep this in mind. Out of sight, out of mind. Mistrust authority, promote decentralization.

I think when we speak about streaming services and how much they suck and will hopefully be seen as what they are in a few years if they don’t change. They are, for me, a destructive force that doesn’t help creatives, only exploits them for short term profits. But I want to mention that the guys at Bittorrent are doing the right thing in my opinion. I really think that Bittorrent is moving into a direction that gives creatives control, and let’s them decide. So if you love music and everything that comes with it, support this service, use it, help build a better system.

I don’t think I have enough time, right? I wanted to talk about apple with our iPhone app and … I don’t want to make it too long. Okay, okay. I was told I have an hour. Time flies by so fast. I’m over time, okay. Damn it. Let’s come to an end. You know what? Let’s forget this, I’m going to put this up online, that’s probably best.

1:01:15 Hackers and artists must unite

You know, to me it seems the world is split into two sides: One sees the creative as a slave to the audience, self-exploitation, 24 hours a day - the other sees the creative as the master of his audience, like they are all an army of slaves that have to pay and pay and pay. If you never saw it this way, go read the comments below YouTube videos. Suddenly it all makes sense. By the way this is a phenomenon that is part of our culture, we inherited that from the times of the Cold War, when the battle between capitalism and socialism, West and East was fought.

Other cultures, for example in Africa, have never looked at music through those lenses. I think it’s time to look at those, get inspired by them, so we can move forward and create something better, and finally leave these old battles behind. We were all born into this, but together we can find a way out of it. We just have to. How the media reported on the latest hack of “Sony by North Korea” couldn’t symbolise this better. Ask around in a few months - how will people remember this story? Most people will probably repeat the headlines that were written to generate the most clicks, fast.

Maybe we can just see a video at the end? Dammit, there’s so much I wanted to speak to you about. You know, I show you two last things in case you have not seen it yet. I think culture needs to be used more for political battle and Erdgeist mentioned it … the protest of the 1st of May demonstrations - I don’t know how many of you have seen this… Let me just show it to you.

1:03:16 Video 1st of ATR at May protest

Ok, there was a lot of other stuff I wanted to mention, but I don’t have enough time right now. But basically, what I wanted to say was that I think hackers and artists must unite more, and they have to start working on a much deeper level, just build something better, use culture, also in the fight.

Ok, thank you.



Transcript based upon the release of the talk’s full text (including the parts skipped due to time restrictions) available at http://atari-teenage-riot.tumblr.com/post/106445636152/31c3-a-new-dawn-a…

Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4Bg0w7GnaA

Photograph (credits Nic Endo) from http://foem.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=434&Itemid=97

All video clips shown during the presentation can be accessed via vimeo.