Ars Electronica Festival 2013: WIR SIND HIER (We Are Here)

2013 Ars Electronica Festival
Festival Opening in Linz’s Tabakfabrik / September 5, 2013

(Linz, July 23, 2013) The opening event of this year’s festival is entitled WIR SIND HIER (We Are Here). This live performance in the courtyard of the former tobacco processing plant that’s one of Linz’s architectural landmarks takes the 80th anniversary of the first book burnings in Nazi Germany as an occasion to increase awareness about the latest developments in surveillance and censorship. WIR SIND HIER is a cross-media art project that was launched by Salvatore Vanasco and is supported by an impressive array of renowned artists.


The WIR SIND HIER project kicked off in mid-July. The focal point is a website where relevant issues are being put up for discussion, and that also features updates about ongoing actions. This is a great place to express your opinion, take a stand, give advice, develop ideas, make demands and amass knowledge. The guiding principle: have your say and listen up when others respond. Here, users can speak out about anything that’s on their mind. WIR SIND HIER is designed for people who oppose the government’s data retention efforts, PRISM and the many other forms of digital surveillance and censorship, and for people who refuse to yield to the sense of hopelessness and the indifference that come with this territory. And all of it in total awareness that this endeavor is no doubt ultimately futile, and the project will fail in the end. But even if this doesn’t change the world, what nevertheless remain are the certainty and the hope that all over the world, over and over again, people are standing up, demonstrating solidarity and proclaiming loud and clear: WE ARE HERE!


One way to get involved is by joining the WIR SIND HIER Chorus. From now on, anyone can read a short excerpt from Bertolt Brecht’s 1925 poem “Gegen Verführung” (Against Seduction) and upload their words to Together, these many voices will form a chorus whose debut will also be part of the show at the Tabakfabrik.

Hear Destruction

What does destruction sound like? Or, in more precise terms: what sort of noise does the destruction of culture make? We’re interested in all sorts of sounds—from the impact of a wrecking ball to the crackling of burning paper to the electronic beep of an error message. Composer FM Einheit will use them as part of the soundtrack of the live show in Linz.

Salvatore Vanasco (IT), the central node of an extensive network of artists

WIR SIND HIER was initiated by Salvatore Vanasco. Born in Montalbano, Italy, he grew up in Hessen, Germany. He began college in 1982 with the study of literature at La Sapienza in Rome. 1984-89, he majored in visual communications at the HFBK–University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. From 1989 to 1998, he was director of the European Media Art Lab. In 2006, he cofounded xailabs GmbH in Berlin. During this period, he has also served as professor and dean at Merz Akademie in Stuttgart. Salvatore Vanasco is an artist and software entrepreneur, and a recipient of the German Media Art Prize.
In addition to Salvatore Vanasco, many other artists are participating in WIR SIND HIER: Jovica Aleksis, Gözen Atila, Ulé Barcelos, Dominik Berg, Matti Casper Blunck, Rica Blunck, Yoko Gretel Blunck, Claudius Brodmann, Matthias David, Elisa de Paolis, Daniela Dibelius, FM Einheit, Stephanie Geiger, Marcus Jäger, Craig Johnson, Johannes Kirchner, Francesca Kühlers, Traute Kühlers, Jan Lachenmayer, Sybille Luhmann, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Timo Maier, Jürgen Mertens, Steffen Neubauer, Kien Nguyen, Felix Ostrowski, Bilgehan Öziş, Laszlo Puskas, Rafa Quinonero, Ludwig Seyfarth, Rolf Wolkenstein, Cornelia Wunderlich, Laura Zidda and Arie Zinger.

Total Recall – The Evolution of Memory

This year’s Ars Electronica Festival is set for September 5-9 in Linz. The 2013 theme is TOTAL RECALL – The Evolution of Memory. The festival program includes, as always, a diversified lineup of symposia, exhibitions, performances, interventions and concerts. Details will be posted over the coming weeks to Plus, thought-provoking background info and interviews with participating artists and scientists will be made available on the festival blog at

press release “Ars Electronica Festival 2013: WIR SIND HIER (We Are Here)” / PDF

An interview with Salvatore Vanasco can be found on the AE Blog.


Wir sind hier – Räumungskommando / Wir sind hier / Printversion / Album


Wir sind hier – User Choir / Wir sind hier / Printversion / Album


Wir sind hier – Impact / Wir sind hier / Printversion / Album