Winner of the Open Call 2015/2016
The Dutch Window
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.
Interviews conducted with Morgan Quaintance
Seecum Cheung is a visual artist working primarily with moving image. Her current work is an ongoing series of films, based upon the interviews and encounters that she has initiated with leading specialists in the field of right-wing radicalism, human rights organisations, and activist refugee groups.
Cheung has been conducting interviews since August 2015, collaborating with media representatives to collect footage in order to map out the differing frames surrounding the rising surge of Nationalism within Europe. Interviewees include Áron Deméter – Campaign Manager of Amnesty Hungary, Hans Brün – leading counter-terrorist expert in Stockholm, Dr Bernd Baumann – Chairman of the eurosceptic political party AfD in Hamburg and Lennart Schwarzbach – candidate for the ultranationalist political party the NPD, with more interviews and footage shot in Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Bulgaria and the UK.
Cheung was recently announced as the 2017 winner of the Anni and Heinrich Sussman Foundation, additionally receiving a substantial research grant from CBK Rotterdam with support from Fonds Kwadraat. She will receive two solo presentations with Syndicate Gallery (DEU) for Poppositions (BE) and Grand Union Gallery (UK) this year.