For the exhibition “Luther and the Avant-garde,” the artist Achim Mohné developed the idea for an Edward Snowden portrait composed of 672 concrete slabs on a lawn between the former prison and courthouse in Wittenberg. Based on a shared interest in furthering democracy and supporting whistleblowers, Achim Mohné answered questions posed by the Whistleblower-Network (interview conducted by Ali Fahimi on 05/17/2017 in the office of the Whistleblower-Network, Berlin)
WBNW How did you come up with the idea of choosing Snowden for the theme of Reformation in the exhibition “Luther and the Avant-garde”?
Mohné The medium of printing, which was “fast” at the time, made the Reformation possible for Luther; Edward Snowden’s worldwide disclosures beat today’s prevailing digital technology at its own game. Both “whistleblowers” aimed at revealing systematic injustices. Lucas Cranach’s Luther portrait is an icon of the Reformation; the portrait of Snowden circulating around the world stands for the personified resistance against digital surveillance methods. Paradoxically, the portrait of Edward Snowden, consisting of 672 concrete slabs and measuring 12 x 14 meters, cannot be recognized on the ground. It only becomes visible by means of a surveillance medium. As soon as it is captured by satellites, it also appears on Google Earth, Apple Maps and other navigation systems. So Snowden can return to the United States at least virtually in this manner.