The Dutch Window refers to the cultural tradition in The Netherlands of having open and un-curtained front windows, thus exposing one’s interiors for all to see. This unique act has amassed theoretical speculation, centered on the Dutch ideal of having nothing to hide. The borders of the private become intimately blurred with the public, separating the outside from the inside, and uniting the two through reflection. Cheung uses the window as a metaphor for the ideology of liberal transparency and openness in Dutch politics.
At the heart of the film is a discussion around the Dutch voting system of Proportional Representation, with a focus upon the new fringe parties which ran in this year’s electoral race. As noted by the Dutch political scientist Prof. Tom van der Meer, The Dutch system is highly proportional which is radical in its principle of when people vote. The consequence there is that if there is distrust in society, that distrust gets reflected in parliament quite directly, quite easily… so parliament has a chance to cleanse itself, to give people a voice, to canonise distrust in parliament. In the end that is better for democracy.
Since the Proportional Representation system was implemented in 1918, no party has ever approached the seats needed for an outright majority, therefore the Dutch parties have consistently worked together to form coalitions, in order to best represent the values for all Dutch people in all its liberal and illiberal shades.
This project was kindly supported by CBK Rotterdam, Anni und Heinrich Sussmann Foundation, Fonds Kwadraat, Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Grand Union Gallery.
About the artist
Seecum Cheung (GB) is working primarily with moving image. Her current work is an ongoing series of films based upon interviews and encounters initiated by the artist with leading specialists in the field of right-wing radicalism, human rights organisations, and activist refugee groups.
Her films include coverage of the 2017 Dutch elections (The Dutch Window, 2017) with writer, musician, broadcaster and curator Morgan Quaintance, and extensive interviews on the rise of the far-right in Germany with political journalist Richard Cooke with SBS Public Broadcasters (Interview with Lennart, 2016). She is currently directing a series of films as commissioned by NHS England, in collaboration with human rights equality charity brap, to address the inequalities that BME patients face in cancer care-services.
Recent exhibitions include solo presentations at Syndkt Gallery, Brussels, and Grand Union, Birmingham (both 2017) and groups shows in Sixty Eight Art Institute, Copenhagen (2018) Bendigo Art Gallery, Perth (2018) with events at The Showroom, London (2018) Impakt Film Festival, Utrecht (2018) and Stuart Hall Library, London (2019). She is a recipient of the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Award 2015/16 and O&O CBK Rotterdam 2017 research grant.
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