Full-scale room replica of Assange’s living/workspace at the Ecuadorian embassy in London
5x4m floor space, 3.2m height
Assange’s Room is a detailed reconstruction of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s study at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The room is not re-created from detailed photographs or plans, but purely from the memory of !Mediengruppe Bitnik who visited with Julian Assange on various occasions. The work is part of the series Delivery for Mr. Assange. It follows the live online performance piece, where, on January 16, 2013, the artists sent a parcel to Julian Assange, containing a hidden camera.
The stalemate around the Ecuadorian embassy is one of the rare physical manifestations of the ongoing crisis between the powers that be and the Internet freedom aficionados. Due to the cordon of British police, Julian Assange has no access to the outside and is confined to the highly regulated interior of the embassy. Visitors cannot enter or exit the building without checks, documentation, and security processes – very few people are permitted to either enter or leave, or actually know what it looks like – yet this is the space from which WikiLeaks still operates and reaches millions of people worldwide. Thanks to an Internet connection and an expert understanding of both technological and political networks, WikiLeaks remains fully operational from the confines of a 20m2 space.
The life-size replication presents the “world” of Assange and his daily physical experience. A human body entrapped in a building. An existence more restricted than imprisonment, when at least he would be able to go for a walk.
By moving Assange’s work and influence out of the virtual, into a real-world bodily domain, Bitnik creates a tangible sketch of a daily life from which the visitor can walk freely in and out. By materializing an otherwise abstract question of confinement, control, and counter-power, we experience more acutely the paradox of one state nervously observing the other state from within.