Delivery For Mr. Assange, Telepresent Mail Art


On 16 January 2013 a parcel was shipped from the borough of Hackney to the Ecuadorian Embassy, final recipient: Julian Assange. The package contained a phone which, through a hole in the box, photographed the surrounding environment every ten seconds, documenting the whole delivery route. Each photo was uploaded in real-time to a Twitter account on the website of the project “ Delivery for Mr. Assange” by the collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik, giving shape to a live 32-hour mail art piece. The journey follows the packet switching between different hands, bags and post offices. It is followed by interested persons amid tense moments of blackout. And when the mysterious box arrived at Assange (previously contacted by the collective) a live performance began, displaying video messages like “Justice for Aaron Swartz” and “Transparency for the State! Privacy for the Rest of Us!”. If the basic empirical question (which has kept followers connected to Twitter even at night) is: “Will the parcel arrive at its destination or disappear in the maze of Royal Mail?”, the broader conceptual framework in which the project is situated includes reflection on the transparency of information. Assange is the emblem of the debate between closed information systems – dominated by copyright and monopolies of influence – and open information systems, in which information circulates freely. The invitation to follow the journey of the package step by step is a call to analyze the mechanisms of transmission, access and manipulation of information, awareness of which should be part of the constitutive definition of every democratic society.
Ylenia Cafaro

Delivery For Mr. Assange