Each year, Rhizome takes over the New Museum for a stacked Saturday of seven panels in as many hours, each featuring one heavy hitter in tech and one heavy hitter in art. And then there’s a big party on the roof, which is nice, but the real meat and potatoes here is the marathon of truly intriguing panels. The participants are usually picked with expert care and matched up with a likeminded luminary. The lineup for this year’s event, which all goes down May 2, was announced today, and the spread is no less impressive than in the past—or, maybe, it’s more loaded than usual.
Perhaps the marquee talk here is Ai Weiwei, who might be the most famous artist on earth, and Jacob Appelbaum, the only American on the Wikileaks team and a close confident of Edward Snowden. When considering their roles in fighting for transparency and free speech in the age of global surveillance, the line between artist and activist is alluringly blurred. And of course, given their respective lives as dissidents, neither will be present at the New Museum: Ai Weiwei is still restricted from leaving China, while Mr Appelbaum is in self-imposed exile in Berlin after the American government began spying on his girlfriend in their bathroom in San Francisco. Let’s hope the Skype connection gets through.
The full list is below. Tickets to the conference are $125, or a lot more than that if you want to go to the gala or a lunch with the participants. That’s up to you.
Seven On Seven
7th Edition: Empathy & Disgust
Artist Ai Weiwei and independent computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum
Artist Trevor Paglen and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger
Artist Sanya Khan and Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov
Artist Hannah Black and language hacker thricedotted
Artist Martine Syms and ThinkUp co-founder Gina Trapani
Artist Liam Gillick and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver
Artist Camille Henrot and The Guardian Project’s Harlo Holmes