Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman & Daniel Keller
Lives in Berlin, Germany
The Seasteaders, 2017
Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman and Daniel Keller’s video presented at AB6 scrutinizes the Seasteading Institute, a group of libertarians headed by the libertarian activist Patri Friedman and supported by the notorious Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Peter Thiel. Guided by the tagline “opening humanity’s next frontier,” the institute aims to create a politically and legislatively autonomous society on manmade floating islands in the Pacific Ocean. The escape plan of these “pioneers” is both a response to the purported stifling of innovation by governments, and an attempt to create a new society of a few chosen ones. In 2017, Hurwitz-Goodman and Keller attended a conference held by the Seasteaders in French Polynesia, whose government had granted (and in the meantime revoked again) a permit to develop a platform prototype in their national waters. Part of the agreement to film the gathering was that the artists would hand all their material over to the Seasteading Institute. A week before Hurwitz-Goodman and Keller were planning to launch their documentary, the institute released its own video, also titled The Seasteaders, mimicking the artists’ trailer to an uncanny degree. The documentary brings to the surface the libertarians’ despise of democracy, their interest in transhumanism, and their uncomfortable proximity to the radical NRx neoreactionary movement.