The Right To Know: Free State 3 - 6 November 2011


Instead of a conventional exhibition, Impakt will organize a Free State this year, a temporary autonomous zone in which visitors can indulge in a wide variety of mind-broadening behaviour. With spin-offs from various festival projects such as the History is Yours T-shirt Print Shop, as well as several installations and works from the WE-tube-o-theek and the Banned Videos programme.

With two installations, Free State particularly explores the desires and hopes vested in the liberating potential of social media. Next to a reality of monitoring users, political interference and privacy, these desires are also present. The Free State reveals the different faces of social media platforms, both in day-to-day use and in times of revolution.

Banned Videos

In collaboration with Upload Cinema (Dagan Cohen)

In the Banned Videos terminal in the Free State visitors can view videos that have been previously banned, as well as add videos to the collection. (for more information see the “Screenings” section)


Johan Grimonprez

In the We-tube-o-theek installation in the Free State visitors can see videos from the We-Tube-o-theek project that were not included in the screening (For more information see the “Screenings” section)

History is Yours! T-shirt Print Shop

Hendrik-Jan Grievink & Coralie Vogelaar

This flagship store of the History is Yours project (see also: Impakt Online on page 3) does not only offer an overview of the T-shirts, but you can also make your own. So go ahead and bring your own T-shirts.

Watching revolution through a hole in the wall

Foundland (

Foundland presents an entirely fictional narrative of perseverance and protest, based on a personally selected archive of Internet evidence related to the present situation in Syria.

While President Bashar maintains that mysterious “armed groups” are responsible for the widespread killing of civilian protesters in his country, he can only prove this by showing reporters images of the perpetrators. Meanwhile Western media, although not allowed to enter Syria, report that Bashar has in fact hired armed gangs to shoot at protesters for the purpose of photographing them in action. A powerful and ruthless regime needs to be media savvy in a time when it’s resilient and fearless citizens maintain the power to report events through social media to the rest of the world. Finding out the “truth” behind what is exactly happening becomes a complex investigation of eye witness accounts, rumours, confessions and lies. Foundland member, Ghalia Elsrakbi (Damascus, 1978) closely followed the events of the Syrian uprising through the Internet and personally experienced her Facebook account transform into a battleground of political opinion and a vehicle for propaganda, both pro and against the Bashar regime.

Face to Facebook

Alessandro Ludovico and Paolo Cirio

Face to Facebook is a project of the Italian artists Alessandro Ludovico and Paolo Cirio forming part of the Hacking Monopolism trilogy. This part of the trilogy goes into the fine line between sharing personal information and online privacy. For this project, the profile photos of 250,000 users were collected and algorithms were used to rank them into groups based on facial expression (‘climber’, ‘easy going’, ‘funny’, ‘mild’, ‘sly’ and ‘smug’). On the basis of the faces ranked into these groups, they developed a dating site where the images were tagged as ‘single’ and ‘available’. Or to put it differently, the smile once intended to win over the sympathy of a familiar circle of people, was now used for large-scale seduction of other Facebook users; a painful reminder of the consequences of sharing intimate information online. In this way, the dating site questions the issue of online privacy by zooming in on one of the most iconic web platforms. An elegant nod to the beginning of Facebook, with pictures stolen from students.

In 2011 this project won the Prix Ars Electrona Award of Distinction for Interactive Art, and was widely reported in global media outlets such as CNN, Fox News and Der Spiegel.

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Blog: Banned Books Week | IMPAKT on 6 October 2011 at 12:33

    [...] As you might have seen while wandering through the new Impakt website and exploring the program for the upcoming festival, there is going to be attention to Banned Videos. [...]

  2. By Live Blog: Free State Opening | IMPAKT on 4 November 2011 at 13:21

    [...] Live Blog: Free State Opening  : Manus Groenen Thursday, 3 November 2011 Het Impakt Festival opent met een strakke, scherpe expositie als warming up voor de rest van de week. In de Academiegalerie [...]

  3. [...] photograph credit: Pieter Kers More information: Impakt Festival [...]