On Tuesday June 19, Dazed Digital hosted a 24-hour live Twitter Q&A session with Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire and members of the leaderless online collective Anonymous (Alec had previously conducted an interview with AnonyOps for the June issue of Dazed & Confused magazine). Selected highlights from the conversation are archived HERE, arranged by response and topic. The fact Alec conducted this online Q&A personally for the full 24 hours is highly impressive, especially as Atari Teenage Riot had just returned from their South American tour – Alec, we salute you. Thanks to everyone who read, contributed and all Anons who took part.
Alec Empire writes: ”It was difficult to get all these people in sync and to agree to a specific time. As you can imagine, they are based all over the world and don’t really have normal sleeping patterns... they are like us rock stars, haha. So, when we agreed to have it run for 24 hours, things started to get interesting. I knew it would be a real mission! I just came back from South America and was still pumped from amazing and sold-out shows we had there. The last show in Sao Paulo in Brazil had to be stopped by security three times because the crowd kept invading the stage.
A lot of people read the tweets, and kept coming back to them. It took some courage to actually become a follower of our temporary account. We had many ATR fans who were scared to end up on some FBI list or something. So, those who were asking direct questions and got engaged in the dialogue were awesome participants. All the Anons were faced with some challenging questions and answered them.
A peak moment was when the news came that Julian Assange had entered the Ecuadorean embassy and asked for asylum. It got a bit quieter in the middle of the night, but suddenly we had various Anons who work on Open Source Farming projects... I found it very interesting because that’s something we all don’t really think about. Food. Free food in urban areas. At some point, we were able to witness how they were basically exchanging ideas and concepts via this Twitter account as if nobody else was watching.
In the morning, hacker IOERROR – who has rock star status in the hacker community, and worked with WikiLeaks – dropped by and posted his letter to the Ecuadorean embassy in support of Julian Assange. During that night, there were so many tweets that we often ended up in what we call “Twitterjail” - Twitter puts a hold on your account for an hour or so if you tweet too much. These were pretty funny moments. Many Anons then changed to IRC channels instead – okay, these were not open to the public but kept the flame burning. :)
This was a really exciting experiment, and made many people think about these issues. Anonymous chooses a radical approach but surveillance and censorship, corruption of governments in our Western democracy – these are all serious issues that should concern all of us. I want to add one more thing... I received so much positive feedback for the unfiltered interview that Dazed & Confused printed in the June issue! This twitter experiment really added to it. In these times of crisis, the economy, Europe, many people tend to drift towards extreme political viewpoints – that’s why it’s so important to keep the dialogue going."
Check out the selected Twitter highlights HERE