Freedom has its limitations. While a visual culture of revealing liberties is in the forefront, concealed images barely draw any public interest: simply because their subject is hidden and their existence is non-existent in the public eye. But who is concerned with the ‘redaction’ of concealed documents and why is this so important?
Solo show and publication by Renée Ridgway
Since 1980 anyone in the Netherlands can request disclosure of information and documents controlled by the government institutions with the WOB (The Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA). The WOB makes public access possible to government records, archives and documents, in the form of paper records; not all files are digitalized yet.
Artist Renée Ridgway searched the archives of Buro Jansen & Janssen, an investigation agency that critically follows the police, judiciary and intelligence services and uses the WOB as one of its research tools. Taking a critical stance on governmental policies and actions, Ridgway selected various files to be turned into readymades of political aesthetics. These A4s are palimpsest, remnant texts merging into newly created and visually poetic images.
This project pragmatically explores the actual conduct of these redacted documents. In diverse reflections, Freek Lomme, Renée Ridgway and Simon Ferdinando trace the capacity and relevance of this artistic turnover whilst Rick van Amersfoort of Buro Jansen & Janssen positions the practical implications of the WOB.
To uncover the politics involved in communication requires a game of hide and seek. The revelation of concealed data might very well both acknowledge and extend our understanding of rights and wrongs, leading us to an image of the political. As a counterpart to this power, this display allows a possibility to not only reveal the concealed but to reaccess its implications.