Bonus Content - Exclusive Interview with pro-WikiLeaks Norwegian street artist AFK
Patron of next generation social platform Panquake talks Big Tech, open source and ethical design
View this art and more at AFK’s official website https://afkstreetart.com. Talk Liberation is committed to providing equal access for individuals with disabilities. To view an accessible version of this article, click here. Graphics are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
In April 2021, panquake.com received a generous donation from Norwegian street artist AFK via the Norwegian art gallery gategalleriet.no. AFK is famous for provocative murals including several about major whistleblowers and publishers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. AFK provided Panquake with its largest donation to date. The funds came from the sales of AFK’s artwork “Making A Martyr,” a piece that features a prominent Norwegian politician naked and surrounded by microphones. The work allows for the public to contemplate what freedom of expression is “and whether or not it should be restricted or censored.”
The donation was facilitated by the Norwegian gallery, “Gate Galleriet.” Currently, as of August 2021, Panquake has reached more than $137,000 in donations. In an exclusive interview with Talk Liberation, AFK shares with us the motivations for his artwork, why he chose to donate to Panquake and what inspires him about this new ground breaking social media company.
TL: Thank you for supporting Panquake and thank you for your generous donation. Why did you chose to donate to panquake.com?
AFK: I donated to Panquake because their vision resonates with me and supporting ethical technology is the best weapon we have against big tech.
TL: Can you tell us about your artwork and style?
AFK: I use a variety of techniques from sprayed stencils to painted “paste-ups,” with a focus on unsanctioned work in public spaces. Regarding style, I’m kinda all over the place. I like to let the idea, size and location dictate the approach, but I’m probably best known for my monochrome stencils with some splashes of color.
TL: What do you hope to achieve with your artwork?
AFK: My intention is to reach all walks of life and inspire them to question, and think critically.
TL: How can art help raise awareness of issues such as censorship, free speech, free press, human rights, etc.?
AFK: In the case of political and social issues, it can compress complex concepts and clarify their relationships to us. And when it’s done well, a piece of art can trigger a whole range of emotions, spark reflection and possibly ignite action.
TL: How important is it to you and other artists and dissidents that there is an alternative to Big Tech?
AFK: It is incredibly important. The shadow banning of artists and dissidents on social media is on the rise. This omission of opinions while strengthening others, is leading us down a dark path. I’m concerned this will sanitize the Big Tech platforms and push dissenting views to their respective niche’s. We are in desperate need of a diverse and trusted space for public discourse.
View this art and more at AFK’s official website https://afkstreetart.com. Graphics are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
TL: What do you look forward to most about panquake.com?
AFK: The lack of incentive to collect my data, the blockchain record and a relief from the worry of being censored.
TL: In your view, how is Panquake different from the existing social media platforms?
AFK: From privacy to security, every aspect of Panquake is designed from a user-centric ideology. It is also open-source, decentralized and has no corporate affiliations.
TL: Can you speak about the importance of freedom of communication online?
AFK: The freedom to communicate online is an essential part of global diversity. It is a space where ideas can be challenged and developed. Where truth can be sought, and minds can be broadened. Where dissenting views can be aired and considered.
But as we’re all aware, much of the stuff that makes a vibrant society, is at odds with Big Tech’s business model. They don’t have our best interests in mind and they lack the moral backbone that is needed for the type of service humanity requires… open source and decentralized technology built with ethical design, as opposed to asshole design.
AFK’s artwork can be found here: https://afkstreetart.com.
You can follow AFK on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/afk_artworks/
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