Kampnagel sommerfestival logo anschnitt 4c
Asset 69735
© Kampnagel
Asset 69735
© Kampnagel

Disrupting Democracy

Me, the world and the new order


in englischer Sprache, Anmeldung erforderlich (bitte auf TICKETS-Button klicken) Bitte rechtzeitig vor Ort sein - nach Beginn des jeweiligen Panels gibt es keine Einlassgarantie mehr! Restplätze werden nach Verfügbarkeit freigegeben. Die Konferenz wird aufgezeichnet und Mitte nächster Woche zur Verfügung stehen.

Past dates




11:00 AM

A conference on the influence of digital technologies and media on political processes and democracy.

We are witnessing a revolutionary redistribution of power. Since the campaigns for Brexit, Donald Trump and later on Emmanuel Macron, the public has become aware of how extensively social media tools like micro-targeting, bots and commercial surveillance are already being used to gain real political power. We ourselves have changed too. Fake news, meme-wars and conspiracy theories have shaken our belief in truth and facts; Online hate speech has altered how we even talk to each other.

As the old world trembles, a new one is emerging. Platforms are starting to act like states and digital activists from all sides are shaking up political parties. What once appeared to be a digital state of emergency is becoming the new normality.

One month before the German election, the culmination of the European super election year of 2017, thought leaders in technology, science, activism, business and literature will discuss the mechanisms, extent and effects of the networking and digitalization of our common realm – the political space.

The one-day conference DISRUPTING DEMOCRACY is being realized with Swiss author and economist Hannes Grassegger. He is the lead-author of one of the most widely read articles of 2016, »The Data That Turned the World Upside Down« which has been translated in over 20 languages (»Ich habe nur gezeigt, dass es die Bombe gibt«, first published in Das Magazin, together with Mikael Krogerus). This reportage about the company Cambridge Analytica, which was contracted by Donald Trump and Brexit Campaigners for their digital campaigning, has caused controversy and led to two official investigations into the legality of the Brexit campaign in the UK. As early as 2014, Grassegger had triggered discussions about the issue of autonomy in the digital age and about ownership of personal data with his book »I am Capital.« Most recently Grassegger was shortlisted for the Nannen Prize for »Inside Facebook « a reportage about Facebook’s secret governance mechanisms (SZ Magazin, Dec 2016, together with Dr. Till Krause) which he further investigated for US-news agency Pro Publica.

Now Grassegger is inviting leading thinkers from all political camps from Europe to the USA to Hamburg to discuss what the digital change means for individuals. What potentials are being created, and which options are disappearing? How could a new agora in the 21st century look like – or don’t we need it anymore?


11:00 Am

Short introduction and welcome by Hannes Grassegger and Lena Kollender ( Co-Curator International Summer Festival)

11:15 AM - 1:00 PM PANEL: Disrupting Democracy

How does it work? Which are the foundations of digital exertion of influence? This panel will discuss techno-economic mechanisms that underlie the disruption of democracy. It will begin with an insight into the hidden data markets for personal data. through which information about citizens is increasingly flowing into the circulationCommercially available citizen information that has become of political the fundament to new opinion-forming processes. Then Antonio Garcia Martínez former advisor to Twitter and product manager for Facebook will show us how these mechanisms are used today.this data is being used to influence individuals. He has created Facebook’s ad-targeting system, which has become the decisive marketing mechanism for political campaigning. Paul Hilder, co-founder of Crowdpac, formerly vice president of Change.org and part of Bernie Sanders' campaigning-team for the US-presidential election in 2016 will show the democratic potentials of these developments.

WITH Richard Gutjahr (DE), Paul Hilder (UK), Antonio Garcia Martínez (US) MODERATION Hannes Grassegger (CH)


From Italy to Brexit – across Europe, digital political movements have recently been shaking the world of political parties. In this panel, Ulrike Guérot, leading visionary on the future of the European Union and professor for European politics and democracy research will discuss the strategies of Europe’s digital movements with experts from UK, Italy and Switzerland. Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who investigated the digital side of the Brexit campaign; Italian tech-journalist Fabio Chiusi (Espresso, WIRED) who has researched how the populist Italian MoVimento 5 Stelle pioneered digital campaigning, and Silvian Gisler, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of Operation Libero who challenged the leading populist party through a no-money grassroots Facebook campaign.

WITH Carole Cadwalladr (UK), Fabio Chiusi (IT), Silvan Gisler (CH) MODERATION Ulrike Guérot (DE)

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Panel: building A New State

New technologies are radically transforming our idea of community – and subsequently statehood. How will future states look like? And how should they look like? Disaster researcher Malka Older, author of the highly acclaimed cyberpunk thrillers »Infomocracy« and »Null States« will discuss digital governance with Shoshana Zuboff. Since the early 1980s Zuboff’s career has been devoted to the study of the rise of the digital, its individual, organizational, and social consequences. She coined the term »commercial surveillance« and is now working on her book »Master or Slave? The Fight for the Soul of Our Information Civilization«.

This final discussion about new forms of digitalized governance and its impact on the individual will be moderated by one of the world’s leading experts on cyber security Samir Saran, Vice President of the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi.

WITH Malka Older (US, via Skype), Shoshana Zuboff, PhD (US, via Skype) MODERATION Samir Saran, PhD (IN) CO-CHAIR Hannes Grassegger (CH)

Evening sheet (PDF) available for download here.

Concept: Hannes Grassegger Room: Johanna Landt Stage Manager: Rados Vujaklija in cooperation with: Lena Kollender (Co-Curator International Summer Festival)
In cooperation with Körber-Stiftung, digital-muendig.de. Funded by the alliance of International production houses by the federal government's representative for culture and the media. Samir Saran is invited by ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius during the Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance.