Julian Assange Supporters Post 'Live Art Mail' Webcam In Box To Ecuadorian Embassy and capture Photos of Julian Assange
Since June 19th of last year, political activist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Although Ecuador has granted him political asylum, if he steps foot outside the embassy, he could be arrested, extradited to the United States, and tried for his role in leaking sensitive US diplomatic cables.
For most photographers, shooting a portrait of Assange while he’s in hiding isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, art collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik recently came up with a clever way of doing so: they sent him an Internet-connected camera that’s baked into a cardboard parcel.
Here’s what the outside and inside of the parcel camera look like:
The box, which was shipped to Assange via Royal Mail, is equipped with a pinhole “lens” and contains a camera that automatically snaps a photograph every 10 seconds. The image is then automatically posted to the web on a website titled “DELIVERY FOR MR. ASSANGE” (archived version available here if the main page ever goes down).
The camera arrived in Assange’s hands sometime in the past day. Here are some of the first photographs captured and published by the cam:
In addition to some basic greetings, Assange also used the camera to make various (and often political political) statements:
During the live “performance,” updates on the images were published occasionally to the art collective’s Twitter account.
The project appears to have ended already, but the images are archived on the project’s website. It’d be interesting to see this same concept used to capture images of other difficult-to-access subjects.
The Bitnik art-hacker group sent the good-natured package to Assange via the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been living since June.
It contains a cell phone, a camera, a GPS chip and a battery, and has a hole through which the camera can take photos of the surroundings.
It was posted on Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon had apparently made it inside the embassy building.
The group said the parcel was:
"A REAL_WORLD_PING, a SYSTEM_TEST, inserted into a highly tense diplomatic crisis."The intention was that Assange would open the package, take a photo of himself, and then send the camera on to somebody else. In all it transmitted 9,000 images back to a website which broadcast them live.
Unfortunately, as of press time the camera had picked up no sign of Assange, and 50% of the pictures were totally black.
Regardless, Assange's supporters watched the live webcam page for hours waiting for a sign that it had been received.
On the group's Twitter page it provided regular updates - recording one image of a delivery sign in sheet but little else.