An artists collective in Switzerland called “!Mediengruppe Bitnik” wanted to make a contribution to the worldwide effort to support WikiLeaks. What should they do? They decided that they would create a way to break through the wall of isolation surrounding Julian Assange as he remains under de facto house arrest in Ecuador’s embassy in London. And they did. Here is their description of their project and the amazing results:
“A LIVE MAIL ART PIECE
“!Mediengruppe Bitnik (2013)
“A parcel containing a camera is sent to Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London through the Royal Mail. Through a hole in the parcel, the camera documents its journey through the postal system. The images are transfered to this website, where the status of the parcel can be followed in realtime.
“!Mediengruppe Bitnik will post the parcel around noon on Wednesday, 16 January 2013. The parcel is due to arrive at its destination within 24 hours. Should the first parcel fail to reach Julian Assange, a second and third parcel will follow within the next few days.
“We want to see where the parcel will end up. Will it reach its destination? Which route will it take?
“The parcel is a REAL_WORLD_PING, a SYSTEM_TEST, inserted into a highly tense diplomatic crisis. Julian Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012. Although he was granted political asylum by Ecuador in August 2012, he is unable to leave the embassy premises for fear of being arrested by UK authorities.”
They set up a live feed from the camera inside the parcel, which relayed continuous images from its location as it traveled through the British mail system. Postal workers were occasionally seen handling and moving the package from the time it was dropped off at the post office and made its’ way through the transit points between point A and the Ecuadorian Embassy. Julian Assange and the Ecuadorian Embassy staff were aware that the parcel was on its way, so there would be no unpleasant surprises for the embassy staff. Here are a few of the images Bitnik posted as the package made its’ journey:
12:38 At the post office. queuing up.
12:44 Postal worker at post office puts parcel in postbag. Parcel is on its way.
15:32 Bag being picked up. Where to next? Meanwhile have informed Julian Assange about parcel – http://pastebin.com/44m5UViP
15:57 Total blackout since 15:33. First doubts arise. Maybe someone taped camera?
20:31 Package being taken out of the bag.
20:59 Parcel is being moved. View of the hall.
[The package keeps moving, then stops. For long periods of time, the image is black; then a bit of light is seen; then people again handling other parcels and rolling this one through various mail facilities. The package gets put inside a series of vehicles as it works its way onward towards its destination. Finally…]
14:49 “@bitnk package has arrived and is now with embassy security” , says @wikileaks on Twitter!
[More darkness as the parcel goes through security at the Embassy… then…]
18:04 First view of a room in the embassy!
18:19 A dog! barking!
18:25 Is this thing on! Hello Julian Assange! We are here!
18:31 Hello world!
18:35 Postal art is contagious!
18:41 Image of half hidden tiger.
18:42 Welcome To Ecuador
18:43 Free Bradley Manning
18:44 Free Nabeel Rajab [imprisoned Bahraini activist – FoWL Chicago]
[A series of note cards appear on which we see handwritten “freedom” demands broadcast from the Ecuadorian Embassy: “Free Anakata” (co-founder of The Pirate Bay); “Free Jeremy Hammond” (imprisoned Chicago hacktivist); “Free Rudolf Elmer” (imprisoned for exposing secret bank records at Swiss bank “Julius Bar”); “Free Anons“; and…]
18:49 Justice For Aaron Swartz – Julian sitting at table
[You can see the whole series of still images at “Delivery for Mr. Assange” – Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago. All images sourced from !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Copyleft, 2013]