Julian Assange turned up on a stage in Massachusetts on Sunday, even though he’s still firmly holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
So how did he do that?
Thanks to tech company Hologram USA, the Wikileaks founder was able have his image reconstructed live on stage at The Nantucket Project, an annual bash that brings together “the world’s leading thinkers, visionaries, and performers” for some informal chit-chat and social shenanigans.
If the name of the company rings a bell, that might be because it was also behind the famous reappearance of Tupac in 2012. A legal spat concerning the Michael Jackson holographic performance in May also landed it in the news just the other day.
While Tupac and Jackson are sadly no longer with us, Assange is most definitely still knocking around, albeit within an Ecuadorian-owned building in London. However, due to his self-imposed confinement at the embassy – to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning over alleged sex assaults – Assange doesn’t get out much, or at all, to be exact.
While he’s been able to do print interviews and appear online from the embassy via services like Skype, this is the first time since he turned up at the embassy two years ago that he’s gone all 3D on us.
Interviewed by filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, the feat (excerpt below) involved a camera at the embassy, satellite trucks in London and Nantucket, and some very powerful projectors. The live interview saw a life-size Assange (well, it would’ve looked a bit silly if he was only 30 cm tall) appearing on stage alongside Jarecki.
From what we’ve seen of it, the talk seemed to go smoothly enough, apart from the very end when an attempt at a high five was scuppered by the six-second satellite delay, leaving both interviewer and interviewee looking a little uncomfortable.
The chat allowed Assange to expand on his recent criticism of Google, accusing it of being “engaged in a very ambitious project that is not normal….to gather as much information as possible on people, store it, index it and use it to sell advertising.” He added, “It’s very easy for the NSA to get its fangs into that,” and said the Mountain View company is so powerful it should be broken up into smaller units.
[Source: Hologram USA]