How to Hack a Democracy

4K Video – color – stereo sound – 12 min 48 sec loop – 2022

In his new film, Virgile Fraisse takes inspiration from the book Mindf * ck (2021) to stage its author, whistleblower Christopher Wylie. Former research director at the strategic communications company Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie reveals in 2018 the use of personal data of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge by the company in order to optimize political campaigns (including those of Ted Cruz in 2015 and Donald Trump in 2016). In a minimalist setting, between a TV set and an American polling station, Christopher Wylie, interpreted by Paul Spera, explains step by step, like a tutorial, how to hack a democracy. The comedian takes the comedic and educational springs of stand-up and the TED lecture format to deliver an outgoing and mischievous version of the whistleblower. His introspective and schizophrenic monologue, in which he returns with sarcasm and bitterness on his journey, accounts for all the moral ambiguity of the character. It shows how private data control technologies, when they fall into the hands of populists, are able to manipulate public opinion and influence an entire country without their realizing it. Beyond the mention of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, Virgile Fraisse questions the existence of democracy in the era of surveillance companies.

text by CAC Brétigny forThe Real Show exhibition

Exhibition

2022 The Real Show, group show, CAC Brétigny, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France. 

Credits

Director, script, settings & production: Virgile Fraisse

in co-production with: CAC Brétigny, Théâtre de Brétigny

With: Paul Spera

Director of Photography: Deyan Parouchev

Sound Engineer: Clément Gallice

Lighting & stage manager: Chloé Roger

With: Inès Benkhicham, Jean-Jacques Berthieu, Hélène Chantemerle, Ariane Guyon, Olivier Mayeur, Mathilde Moreau

Shooting location: Théâtre de Brétigny

Stage manager: Julien Jassaud

Costume assistant: Andrea Gonzalez

CAC Brétigny Production Team: Camille Martin, Ariane Guyon, Mathilde Moreau, Céline Poulin

Sound & Video Editing: Virgile Fraisse

Mixing: Clément Gallice

Acknowledgements: Céline Poulin, Agnès Violeau, Paul Spera, Thomas Crassous

How to Hack a Democracy received the AIC grant from DRAC Île-de-France

How to Hack a Democracy © Virgile Fraisse 2022