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Henrik van Leeuwen project

Spying on Society Is Normal – Trailer

Henrik van Leeuwen graduated from the Sandberg Instituut in 2010. By addressing issues regarding power structures in the domains of information and communication networks, his work uses graphic images and installation to visualise and reveal the power dynamics and mechanisms that are at play between corporate, private, and governmental institutions. From this inquiry and analysis, Van Leeuwen considers disputed and ethical questions regarding the role of users and participants.

With the introduction of 5G, flat fees, and the end of roaming, The Treasure Bands deals with who can or potentially will own global communications and data connections. The installation visualises the most expensive radio frequencies used for wireless communication within a locality. By using information obtained from the viewer’s wireless device, this project reveals who owns the exclusive licenses to specific frequencies, how much the licences cost, when the frequencies were acquired, and other relevant factors that influence the value of the licences such as bandwidth and local metadata. How does this ownership affect the user’s ‘rights’ and ‘duties’ while using these networks?

Spying on Societies is Normal takes inspiration from ‘Snowden and the Future’, a three-hour lecture by Eben Moglen, Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University and founder of the Software Freedom Law Center. Moglen’s lecture provides insight into the history of spying, its current and future status, whistleblowing, and the control of communications after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Van Leeuwen believes the lecture deserves a broader audience due to the urgency of its subject matter. Therefore, together with Robbert Klein, he is adapting Moglen’s lecture into a series of short animated films. Thus far, he has realised a trailer for a crowdfunding campaign to help complete the series.

Henrik van Leeuwen

Topics Project

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Year of Birth
1981 (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Utrecht School of Arts, Sandberg Institute

Company Name
Henrik van Leeuwen


Work Address
Utrecht, The Netherlands


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