Re-Imagining Secrecy and Transparency

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Public lecture/debate/seminar


Art concerned with secrecy and transparency, such as that included in this exhibition curated by Thomas Thiel and Simone Neuenschwander, has the potential to shift current understandings and debates about these practices in subtle but important ways. In this talk, I will outline dominant modes of thinking about secrecy and transparency before then considering different approaches prompted by artworks. For example, art can shift the viewer from a purely hermeneutic response to the secret, interested in questions of meaning and interpretive challenges, to an aesthetic response concerned with the distributive as well as affective force of the secret. In addition, in foregrounding secrecy, rather than privacy, certain artworks can redraw the parameters of common debates to ask what it means to think of a ‘right to secrecy’ rather than a ‘right to privacy’. Moreover, some artworks might help us to imagine transparency beyond its current articulation by neoliberalism. Art, therefore, has the potential to wrest secrecy from the securitized, neoliberal state and offer new ways of approaching, conceptualising, and working with secrecy and transparency.
Period28 Nov 2015
Event titleTransparency
Event typeExhibition
LocationBielefeld, GermanyShow on map


  • secrecy
  • art
  • Aesthetics
  • transparency