Is the principle of majority rule outdated? Is democracy in need of reforms? How can democratic decision making retain sovereignty in a globalized world? How do opinions form in a digital public sphere? And how can we defend the idea of democracy against right-wing and neo-conservative forces, against identity and clientele politics? The last U.S. elections and the 2017 elections in many European countries have sparked an increasingly broad-based public debate over the consequences of the growing power of networks and digital technology in the political space. Civic movements and organizations have emerged that seek to revitalize the democratic process and make it fit for the future.

Titled “Disrupting Democracy,” the International Summer Festival at Kampnagel, Hamburg, in August 2017 convened a group of international experts in a space designed by the Hamburg-based artist Johanna Landt to discuss how digital technologies shape social processes. With a contribution by Jonas von Lenthe, that space will now be reconstructed in Hamburg and Brussels as a temporary place of assembly, with conversations scheduled for two days. The events were conceived in collaboration with the Summer Festival’s curator Lena Kollender. As in the summer, the talks will be moderated by the journalist and economist Hannes Grassegger, who investigates the influence of digital technologies on social, economic, and political processes. His exposé on Cambridge Analytica, the firm that was hired to run Donald Trump’s digital campaign, attracted attention around the world.