Chelsea Manning opens IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions


On Wednesday 1 November, activist and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning will be present in Utrecht to participate in the opening of the IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions.Chelsea E. Manning is a technologist and network security expert, analyst, and consultant whose actions showed the world that the conscience of individuals can make urgent change through bravery and determination. Manning became known worldwide for her role in exposing classified U.S. documents, for which she served seven years in prison. In 2022, she released her memoir README.txt, detailing her life before joining the army, her military career, her time in prison and her gender transition.

At the IMPAKT Festival 2023, she will join us to discuss this year’s theme: Our Terms, Our Conditions, dealing with topics such as privacy, information transparency and digital agency. In her presentation, she will discuss the social, technological, and economic ramifications of artificial intelligence, and the practical applications of machine learning. She is a vocal advocate for government transparency and queer and transgender rights. After her presentation there will be an interview and a Q&A.

The opening event is on Wednesday 1 November in the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht and starts at 20:00.

For information, questions and image material, you can contact Arjon Dunnewind via The upcoming IMPAKT Festival 2023 (1-5 November) is all about turning big tech into fair tech and is curated by Merit Zimmermann, Ezgi Aktug, Ruby Thelot, Adrienne Cassel, Niv Fux, Emily Hsiang-Yun Huang, Dunja Nešović & Miranda Mungai. 

Merit Zimmermann is an independent researcher and curator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural and Curatorial Studies from Central Saint Martins (UAL) and a Research Master’s in Sociology, completed at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2022. Her research interests include the field of contemporary art, curation, museology, media and urban studies. She has (co)authored reports for the design company Vitra, as well as book chapters and entries that are accepted for publication by Routledge and Bloomsbury. In the professional world, Merit has done various roles within the cultural and creative sector, including working for art fairs, exhibition centers and music festivals. Currently, she works for a gallery and magazine as a freelancer and volunteers at a non-profit organization for the cultural education of children and teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ezgi Aktug is an interdisciplinary cultural professional with a passion for exploring the intersection of social sciences and arts. She holds a bachelor’s in Psychology and a Research Master’s in Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts. Her interests include but are not limited to digital culture, labor politics, mental health, migration and urban culture. Having worked in various roles in the cultural and creative sector, Ezgi strives to create meaningful and engaging cultural experiences and alternative ways of knowing that challenge traditional assumptions and invite individuals to explore new ideas and perspectives. Currently, she works at Kunstinstituut Melly as an art mediator and at Motel Mozaique as an arts & culture programmer. She is also a member of Artists in Solidarity NL, a newly formed collective collaborating in solidarity with vulnerable communities in times of crises.

Ruby Justice Thelot is a designer, artist and curator based in New York. He is the founder of the creative research and design studio 13101401 inc. His work focuses on the interactions between humans and artificial intelligence, the metaverse and the implications of being-on-line. He has given talks and shown works in Tallin, Berlin and Abuja, amongst other places.

Adrienne Cassel is a 3D artist & designer. They work in both 2D and 3D media, sound design, and mixed reality, focusing on 3D modelling, creative concepting, interactivity, and everything in between.

Niv Fux is an Amsterdam-based curator, film programmer and the Festival Director of Leiden Shorts. He worked as Artistic Director of the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival (2015-2017) and as guest curator for institutions including the Nederlands Film Festival and Noorderlicht Festival (2021). Niv earned his bachelor’s in film Cum Laude from Tel Aviv University (2015) and gained his master’s degree in Arts & Society from Utrecht University (2019), with the effects of digitisation on film festivals as his primary field of research. Niv is also the co-founder and Managing Director of T-Port – an online industry platform for short films and writes for the online film magazine Talking Shorts.

Emily Hsiang-Yun Huang is a researcher and visual artist from Taiwan. She holds a BA in Philosophy from National Taiwan University (TW) and an MA in Media Studies from Leiden University (NL). Her research interests focus on the relationship between body and technology from the perspective of postcolonialism and digital materialism. Projects she has curated include Taipei Digital Art Festival-Fake It Real (2022), Embodied Interface (2020) and Uchronia (2020). As an artist, she often makes performances derived from her poetry on the vulnerability of human existence, with a focus on the female body, in-between identity and the circularity of time. Her works have been exhibited at the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cinedance Festival at the Eye Museum in Amsterdam, among others.

Dunja Nešović is a new media researcher, focused on exploring the notions of (queer) visibility, networked image, and algorithmic imaginaries in the social media sphere. Graduated with a Research MA in Critical Studies in Art and Culture at Vrije Universiteit in 2021, she wrote and edited publications for the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam and Tijdschrift Kunstlicht, and has presented her research for the Screen Walk, a project organized by The Photographer’s Gallery in London and Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Miranda Mungai is a film curator, events producer and facilitator with an interest that lies at the intersection of sociality, new media, and short, experimental non-fiction film. She engages with the potentiality that emerges from the synergy between film, neutral exhibition spaces, and non-hierarchical, generative discussion. She has a degree in Film Studies, King’s College London and worked for the London Short Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Sheffield Documentary Festival and various arts institutions, community projects and activist networks in the UK.

IMPAKT is an art festival for new media, technology and digital culture. The 34th edition will take place from 1 to 5 November in Utrecht (NL). The festival exhibition will be open from 1 November to 7 January 2024. With the title Our Terms, Our Conditions the IMPAKT Festival wants to contribute to a fairer and more inclusive digital future. Besides artists and speakers, many politicians and policymakers will be present at the festival. Together with the visitors, they will discuss how we can turn Big Tech into Fair Tech.

The IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions will be a platform for open dialogue with politicians and policymakers. Because they are the ones who should be developing better legislation that forces platforms to be more ethical. It’s their job to make sure our data is protected and that tech corporations operate on our terms.

The IMPAKT Festival 2023 presents a rich programme of panels, screenings, performances, workshops and an exhibition, in Utrecht and online. The festival will cover a broad spectrum of topics related to our digital rights. Among other things, we will discuss what can go wrong when governments use algorithms, the pros and cons of online anonymity, the expansionism of Big Tech companies, how repressive regimes use surveillance technologies, the influence the development of artificial intelligence will have and what happens to our data after we die. In addition to artists and scientists, speakers will include whistleblowers who have exposed abuses and action groups who are filing lawsuits against Big Tech. Members of parliament from VVD, SP, D66, Volt, Members of the European Parliament and others will participate in panels and be questioned about their views.

>IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions
Several locations in Utrecht and online 1-5 November 2023Festival exhibition
Don’t Be Evil, main festival exhibition at IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] 1 November 2023 – 7 January 2024

CODE, Reclaiming Digital Agency, additional IMPAKT exhibition at Fotodok/Casco 1 November 2023 – 19 November 2023

IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] is an internationally operating organisation based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Through the work of contemporary artists, IMPAKT investigates important social issues related to digitalisation and the influence of technology and media on our society. We provide space for the critical analysis of new technologies and modern media and their creative use. At its centre in Utrecht and online, IMPAKT organizes exhibitions, residencies and events throughout the year. Since 1988, we have organised the five-day IMPAKT Festival.