Julian Assange has once again escaped the confines of his Ecuadorian embassy asylum to make a public appearance – as a hologram.
The Wikileaks founder loomed before an open-mouthed audience as a ghostly 3D spectre at the 2014 Nantucket Project in Massachusetts over the weekend.
There, he sat alongside real bodied human being filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, with whom he shared his thoughts on the importance of public access to free information, research and the impact of censorship on history.
“As a researcher, I'm all too well aware of what people are now calling Google blindness, that the information you can’t find on the Internet doesn’t exist,” his hologram told them.
People can “delete history very easily” on the internet, he continued, quoting Orwell’s work: “He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future.”
“But the last five years have been the greatest period of education that ever existed,” he continued.
“The greatest number of people to the greatest geographic extent are learning about their environment, and the complexities of the international environment.”
“My conclusion is that the best way to go about changing things is simply to act. At its essence, when civilization is working well, it commits us to not do dumb things again. To do that, we have to have the ability to learn from each other, and learn from the past, how our institutions actually behave, their internal dialogue. Ideas can only be as good as their inputs.”
Jarecki ended the conversation by reaching for a holographic high five with the not-really-there whistleblower.
Writing for The Guardian, Jarecki likened the entire spectacle to Star Wars: “In a wink at life imitating art. It’s the same old story of rebels against an empire, but in this case, Assange and kindred spirits such as Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Aaron Swartz see themselves as a real life band of rebels, loosely arrayed against an unholy global alliance of government and economic interests.”
Earlier this month, Assange was forced to postpone his modelling debut at London Fashion Week.
He was set to walk for Dame Vivienne Westwood’s son, Ben Westwood, at a show staged at the embassy, but had to pull out at the last minute due to illness.
In November 2013, he appeared before another bemused audience to introduce rapper and friend M.I.A to the stage ahead of a scheduled concert in New York.
Assange has sought refuge in the embassy in London for the past two years. He is avoiding extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault.Reuse content