Table of Free Voices: Live from Berlin


Today, the Bebelplatz in Berlin is redeemed of the infamy of being the site of Goebbel's book burning and will go forward in history as the site that hosted the Table of Free Voices: 112 of the greatest activists of our times, answering the 100 most interesting questions of our times. As of the time of posting this article, you can be part this great event by checking out the streaming video at The Living Library.

Hafsat Abiola and Willem Dafoe made their opening remarks against the backdrop of Humboldt University and an oversized pile of books, supposed to represent the invention of the printing press but suggesting also the greatness of the human mind and the tragedy of suppressing human creativity. Yungchen Lhamo put the participants into the proper spirit with a poem and song, in a Tibetan devotional style which she learned from her Grandmother in secret, since such songs were banned in her native land. The exotic melody silenced all present and received a round of applause before the real work kicked off...100 questions in 9 hours.

More about the event and photo exclusives over the fold.
Each of the 112 personalities invited to the Table is set up with a microphone and video camera of their own, as can be seen in the photo of Ekaterina Moshaeva, fully outfitted in her persona "Antoschka", Queen of the Clowns. Abiola and Dafoe read out the questions one by one, simul-translated to the participants of many nationalities. Each participant's answers, in the language of their choice, is recorded simultaneously. Only in the isolation of the press or guest tent is it possible to hear snippets of the individual voices selected from the many speaking at once and see the video streaming out via the Living Library to the rest of the world. Outside, in the platz, silence is enforced for the sake of the audio recordings. Curious passers-by are held at bay by security and barriers, but invited to make a small donation and take away the book on the event or a t-shirt.


A puff of smoke indicated that the answer must be wrapped up, for the next question is pending...1 down, 99 to go. Later in the day, the smoke was stopped in favor of a quick verbal reminder. At 10 minutes past four, question 71 submitted by our own Michael G Richards was read out by Willem Dafoe: "Television is a very powerful communication tool. Why do we use it to spread such unimportant information?" The questions were contributed by people all over the world and selected by voting organized by Dropping Knowledge.


Last and final break before the fourth session, 7th and 8th themes. The voices of the team can be heard muttering against the background of an ariel view of Bebelplatz, filmed from a balloon floated by the same team early that morning in preparation of the event. "...fertig, fertig." (exhausted, exhausted). On behalf of our readers and all who will benefit from the results of this event, TreeHugger says "Thank you" to both the speakers and the support teams who endured a marathon to make this day possible. "Thank you, all of you."

The content recorded today will seed dropping knowledge's groundbreaking online archive, translated into many languages and made available under copyleft conditions. Exclusive interviews with some of the participants will be reported shortly here at TreeHugger--for readers too excited to wait for the library to be processed and posted to Dropping Knowledge.

Via: Live from Berlin