Inside the Wave
Inside the Wave is a hybrid theater performance that makes the growing danger of online extremism tangible for the participants.
Extremists from various camps such as conspiracy ideologues, anti-feminists or jihadists use social platforms and media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube to win over the angry and disenchanted as supporters.
The spectators/users are involved in a game that follows the dramaturgical elements of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey and Julia Ebner's stages of radicalization. The participants become not only passive observers but also actors and are sensitized to the individual stages of radicalization.
How can counter-designs to the growing radicalization look like? What means can viewers/users use to counter online radicalization? The evening offers food for thought and can thus contribute to an open, tolerant, active and creative community. Coming Soon!

Coming soon!
June 2023

Become part of the movement and get involved on behalf of society! Ready for the Great Awakening?

I Recruitment – The Call to Adventure

Start your live voice interview. It serves to get to know you, to create your Digital Identity and as a security check. Upload your Digital Identity in the chat.

Security check: Using tablets and PCs, participants take part in a live voice interview and are asked to upload a photo of their hand, along with a piece of paper that says Wake up - username - timestamp, in the chat.
The security check is described by Juliane Ebner in her book: "The photo is used, among other things, to check the skin color of users who want to join a neo-Nazi group.

Become part of a movement. Which ideas can you identify with? What problems urgently need to be addressed? What drives you?
Do you feel that the German government does not represent you?
Do you want to work to ensure that the voices of citizens are heard by politicians?

Introduction: In the recruitment phase, the actors:-costumed as anonymous avatars of the different movements-begin to recruit participants for their different movements. The questionnaires are developed based on radical worldviews and real questionnaires from social media groups and are answered by the participants both on the PCs and tablets and in dialogue with the performers. The space becomes a cross-over of virtual space and real stage. The actors try to lure the participants and win them over for their group. They talk about possible worries, fears and insecurities of the participants and offer solutions.

Become part of the movement and get involved! You can choose between three groups to play on.

Selection: The ideologies of the groups are not openly stated.
Group 1 is a neo-Nazi group.
Group 2 is a troll army of conspiracy theorists.
Group 3 is a right-wing, anti-feminist group.

In the course of the theater evening, the participants experience how the extreme fringes manage to gain supporters online and attract susceptible individuals into their networks - how they spread their anti-modern visions by means of ultra-modern technology.
Could a way to get out of the game and start a counter-movement already be built in here? Perhaps critical voices have already emerged among the viewers in the course of the "recruitment campaigns", who are now being denied access to the second station? "This channel is only accessible to members."
The participants follow their respective groups to the second station.

II Socialization – Meeting of the Mentor

You get your own space with your group. Make yourself comfortable! Learn and share our language, symbolism and codes.
The Echo Chamber: Each of the three groups has its own space - an isolated echo chamber - where the members are among themselves. The performers present themselves to the new members as their mentors and invite them to make themselves comfortable in their protectedsocial bubble. The performers introduce the new members to the group's own language, symbolism, inside jokes, and code words, and invite them to appropriate these codes and share gifs, memes, and video clips.
According to Campbell, the phase ("The Belly of the Whale") serves to transform the hero. This transformation takes place in isolation from the outside world - in the belly of the whale.

The rooms are atmospheric, futuristic and inviting, so that the participants feel comfortable and relaxed in these worlds.

Radical content and conspiracy narratives are set to current pop music and hip filters - a toxic mix of fun and hate. The interactions at Station 2 are hypersocial and emotionally manipulative. The performers inside try to bind the new members to their group. Station 2 is a space for fraternization and free expression. No one has to mince words with us!

At the same time, the participants are prepared for the third station, where they have to stand up for the goals of their group and prove their loyalty to their allies.

III Communication and Networking
– Tests, Allies and Enemies

Dominate the discourse! Increase the reach of your movement!
The goal is to spread the movement's symbols and codes and ultimately dominate the online discourse. Speed and efficiency are required. For this purpose, a course through different premises representing different Digital Spaces is available. Flood the Digital Spaces with your group's content and formats and displace the content of others. Prevent the spread of other ideologies!

The participants are sent on a disinformation campaign by their mentors. On the course, they will meet members of the other groups with whom they can ally to increase the reach of the movement. Under the guidance and drill of the mentors, they begin a mass production and multiplication of the content and formats from Station 2 and attempt to flood the Digital Spaces with it. Other content must be suppressed, counter-speech attempts thwarted. Group 2, the troll army of conspiracy theorists, tries to clog all chats, comment columns and blogs (in the form of staged spaces in the Kulturbunker) with their list of theses:

  • Your water is being poisoned.
  • Bankers orchestrate wars.
  • Government is a corporation.
  • Vaccines are laced with poison.
  • complete list see Julia Ebner, p. 117

They smear the list on the walls, type it up en masse, upload it to tablets and PCs, and duplicate the file, speaking it in and playing it loudly in the rooms.  

In parallel, a counter-movement could work on counter-speech content and try to distribute it in an attempt to reclaim digital space. The counter-speech attempts could also be made by actor:s trying to disrupt and shake up the proceedings.

At the end of the Digital Spaces tour, participants will arrive at Station 4.

IV Mobilization
– Approach of the Inmost Cave

You made it! The symbols and codes of your movement dominate the Virtual Space! High Five!
Let's do this: Organize a protest organization: Wake up! Mobilize additional participants and funds, produce offline materials. Find your task! In which position can you best support your movement?

The symbols and codes of the movement dominate the virtual space. Now it wants to show its face offline as well. The participants are asked to organize a protest organization. For this they have to mobilize more participants and funds and produce materials. The participants receive contacts from interested users (these can be actors who join online) who want to march with them or finance them via cryptocurrency and with whom they enter into dialogue. The mentors divide the participants into subgroups and assign them different tasks. The protest organization must be logistically organized and coordinated. At this point, too, a group can break away and mobilize resistance. How can an exit succeed? Finally, the participant:s scatter posts about the Aufwachen! demonstration on as many platforms as possible, providing information about the time and place. They are on the verge of the climax of their hero's journey. Their mentors encourage them: "We are standing up now!

V Attack – The Ordeal

Now everything will be fine!
Enjoy the victory of your movement!   You have succeeded in spreading your content.

The staging of the space of Station 5 is in stark contrast to the spaces of the previous stations: Bright daylight, no possibility to keep a low profile. The participants have left the virtual safe space and anonymity. They now stand in public with the symbols, codes and slogans of their movement. At this point, several exits are possible: Have the participants succeeded in mobilizing the necessary support for their movement? Do allies emerge en masse? Loud, immersive performance of a demo? Noise, smoke, pressure, chaos? Or do they stand alone? Has a counter-movement formed to confront them now? Does their dream of the heroic story fizzle out? Or do others turn out to be the real heroes? Does someone back down? Will the attack be thwarted? Alternative: Participants:enter the Ward 5 room, equipped and outfitted for the culmination of their hero:s journey. The room is drab and plain. Stools and chairs in front of a screen. Footage is shown of real violent protests or escalations that were the result of radical right-wing online mobilization. (Sound) installation: noise, smoke, chaos. In addition, testimonials of dropouts and activists who stand up for digital civil courage are played.

VI Evaluation – The Road Back

Welcome back! Your journey has come to an end here. What did you experience on this journey? What experiences have you had? What thoughts do you take back with you into your everyday life? Are there any insights you would like to share? To be continued...

The last station serves to evaluate the project. Experiences are discussed, impressions and experiences are collected and processed. The participants should be sensitized for later radicalization attempts and leave the live online game equipped with new reaction possibilities.