Jill Magid: Article 12

April 20 thru June 15, 2008
Opening: Saturday April 19 at 5 pm
Location: Hogewal 1-9

June 4, 2008, 8.30 pm
Lecture Jill Magid at Stroom Den Haag

Realization in cooperation with Huib Haye van der Werf (advisor Atelier Rijksbouwmeester)
This April the AIVD (Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst) took up residence in its newly renovated building in Zoetermeer. The organization is using this opportunity to present itself to the outside world in an innovative way. The American artist Jill Magid was given access into this closed stronghold to research 'the human face' of the secret service. It has brought her into contact with its individual 'employees', each of whom plays an intrinsic part in the makeup of this face. The result, an exceptional series of works of an outstanding organization, is presented in the exhibition Article 12.

"I was one of the specially trained groups of agents called "the hummingbirds". The men and women of this group are so valuable that to protect their covers no central file is kept on them and their identities are seldom divulged to other agents. Most hummingbirds remain on assignment as long as they lead active cover lives, usually as high-ranking government officials, military or cultural officials based in foreign countries. Others serve as businessmen, scientists, editors, writers and artists.
But I always used to wonder what would happen if a hummingbird vanished, leaving no proof..."

[Quote from 'Cockpit' by Jerzy Kosinski, 1975]

Over the last three years Magid has conducted numerous interviews with employees of the AIVD. These conversations took place in bars and non-descript public places. The purpose of these meetings was for Magid to collect personal data of the employee and to use this information to define the organization's face. The results of these interviews are the newly produced works in the exhibition ‘Article 12' -the article on the protection of personal data- at Stroom. Each work in the show reveals specific characteristics of the participating AIVD employees but never discloses their identities entirely.

Ultimately the process of her method defined the outcome: what was made and what was left unresolved. The product of this outcome is a variety of visual, textual, and conceptual works. Through the exhibition at Stroom, the AIVD is presented publicly, in a gallery context where the Organization becomes the observed rather than the observer. The link with the core-organization however, is ever present as the exhibition in Stroom coincides with the opening of the AIVD's renovated building, as well as one of the works being present at both locations. Stroom can be seen as an auxiliary of the AIVD, and vice-versa.    

Jill Magid (1973 USA, lives and works in New York and Amsterdam) seeks intimate relations with impersonal structures. She is intrigued by hidden information, being public as a condition for existence, and intimacy in relation to power, manipulation, and observation. Intrinsic to the nature of her work is the establishment of a bond with the individuals she chooses as her subject matter. This association often evolves into an intense, personal exploration of herself, her subjects, and the organization of which they are a part. The relationships are unique to their place and time, and reflect the larger social context within which they were developed.

Special thanks to: Mondriaan Stichting and Atelier Rijksbouwmeester.

website Jill Magid

Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face, 2008
photo: Rob Kollaard
Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face, 2008
photo: Rob Kollaard
Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face, 2008
photo: Stroom Den Haag
Jill Magid, survey Article 12
photo: Rob Kollaard
Jill Magid, The Shepherds, 2007-8 (in background: The Kosinski Quotes, 2007)
photo: Rob Kollaard
Jill Magid, Archive #2485536/01 (2005-8)
photo: Rob Kollaard
Data (video still), 6 min. DVD, 2005/2006. Video played as 'informercial' through the AIVD building to illicit interest from agents to meet Jill Magid
Jill Magid, I Can Burn Your Face, 2008
Jill Magid, Hummingbird