PRIVACY STATEMENT is a collaborative project of informal strategies and the artist duo Elke Uitentuis en Wouter Osterholt for the exhibition 'Zoetermeer Utopia' which runs from May 25 until November 10, 2013. This exhibition, which aims to reflect on the utopian ideas around the planning of the new town as well as on possible contemporary utopias, is initiated by Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer.


A search for free space.
Both in the public space of the city as in the virtual environment of the Internet, no one can escape the far-reaching surveillance. Developments aiming at ease of use and the pursuit of security are leading to rapidly expanding databases that are more and more connected. In recent years it becomes increasingly evident that this storing and analyzing of data has, next to the merits, also serious disadvantages.

PRIVACY STATEMENT is a project that explores the limits of our freedom. Does free, public space exist or is this an utopia? The internet is once created as a decentralized, public network in which information can be exchanged freely, but this freedom is progressively limited. Governments, but also large private parties, focus more and more on observing and controlling traffic. A development which also takes place in the physical space of the city.

Zoetermeer brands itself as ICT city and invests in a new educational program on internet safety. Next to that ICT is getting more and more attention from the AIVD (the Dutch secret service) and Interpol, both agencies have their headquarters in the center of the city. The Nelson Mandela bridge houses 34 surveillance cameras and the city center of Zoetermeer is a fully controlled, private shopping area. On the borders of this area the public is confronted with the existing surveillance techniques in an unexpected way. When scanning on of the traffic signs with a QR code with a mobile phone, you do not only enter a secured Internet environment, but you will also become associate in the PRIVACY STATEMENT project.

Personal information that is spread on the Internet, is stored and can easily be used or abused by third parties. The movement of the individual is almost fully traceable through an accumulation of different control techniques. The question is whether this far-reaching monitoring does contribute to a safe, open and democratic cityscape? To answer this question PRIVACY STATEMENT takes the public on a search for free space that is not monitored. The quest takes the form of a traveling academy with trainings in the homes of the various participants. The courses are open to everyone and will focus on how the internet works, how data traffic is supervised and stored and the political issues at stake. Net to that we will focus on techniques to use the internet in a conscious and anonymous way. Everything with the ultimate aim to put together an open, non-supervised network and thus to build a new democratic platform within the city of Zoetermeer.

The traveling academy is developed in collaboration with Douwe Schmidt of Greenhost.