DENMARK: ‘Culture jamming’ activist duo The Yes Men interviewed Edward Snowden live via satellite on June 28 at Roskilde Festival. The project – in tandem with a number of satirical signs posted around the site by The Yes Men – aimed to increase knowledge about digital surveillance.
The Yes Men are famous for raising issues like climate change through the use of false identities and messages. At this year’s Roskilde Festival, they have put emphasis on digital surveillance as a topic they want discussed on a much broader scale.
The signs were put up in selected parts of the camping area when the festival opened last Saturday. This afternoon the project was revealed by The Yes Men and Roskilde Festival at a debate session where an actor dressed as Edward Snowden was also present.
Roskilde Festival’s spokeswoman Christina Bilde said: “The signs are part of an activist performance carried out by The Yes Men and Edward Snowden, and the messages on the signs are untrue. We have a special focus on human rights this year – including the right to privacy and the way that right is being challenged, not least by digital surveillance. That is the motive and background behind the cooperation with The Yes Men and Edward Snowden. We chose to take part in it actively in this rather provocative way to make the festival-goers take an active stance.
“We are aware that we have taken the debate and the trust of our guests and the media to the limit. This was a risk we were willing to take. Many have felt despair or anger, and to be honest it has been tough following the comments on social media. But the project has played out exactly the way The Yes Men and Edward Snowden had planned. It has been very uplifting to see the festivalgoers actively taking a stance and reacting strongly against the signs. It would in many ways have been worse if they didn’t react as digital surveillance has – in so many ways – become a part of our everyday lives.
“This makes it all the more important that we are all aware of it, are ready to debate it and question it. And I’m certain that everyone attending the talk between Edward Snowden and The Yes Men on the festival site will get an even better understanding of the issue.”
The whole process has been documented by The Yes Men and will be released as a film, to be distributed shortly after the festival.