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The Privacy Advisor | The Art of Watching: Privacy and the Public Eye, an art show Related reading: Live from the IAPP: Going Back to 1984 and More


If you were at the 2015 Data Protection Commissioner’s conference in Amsterdam or at the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection annual conference a few months later, you may have had an opportunity to check out the IAPP’s collection of George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Now, it’s on display in the U.S. as part of The Art of Watching: Privacy and the Public Eye. The exhibit includes not only the IAPP’s more than 100 editions of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” but also ephemera from the book and works from our own contemporary art collection. All told, the exhibit represents more than 65 years of artistic interpretations of the themes of privacy, surveillance, and political and social coercion, providing a view of the shifting perceptions of privacy through generations and across cultures.

If you’ve seen IAPP President and CEO Trevor Hughes, CIPP, give a presentation, you know that he consistently uses art as a way to communicate the complex issues of privacy in his presentations. “It is difficult to grasp this issue,” Hughes told the Portsmouth Herald, “and the human language sometimes is not sufficient to connect privacy to our humanity.”

It's from this ethos that the IAPP’s privacy art collection began. 

“Our interest in the collection is to offer an exploration of the issue of privacy through many different ways. The concept of privacy has so many perspectives, and the collection reflects that. It’s a broad inquisitiveness into what privacy means in society,” Hughes said.


As evidence of that, the contemporary works on display explore topics ranging from the myth of Diana and Acteaon to junk mail and the proliferation of CCTV cameras. Through painting, digital imagery, sculpture, photography and more, the artists offer interpretations of issues important to the concepts — and work — of privacy.

On display are works by artists Laurie Frick, Jakub Geltner, Barbara Hashimoto, Nathalie Miebach, Lincoln Perry, Nikki Rosato, Will Sears and Jer Thorp.

If you happen to be near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, make sure to stop in and check it out. And if you need a good reason to make the trip, we’ve got a few events planned that may entice you.

  • On Aug. 22, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Thomas Ricks will read from and sign his latest book, "Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom," which just hit The New York Times Best Seller List. A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike. (Free to the public) 
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  • The IAPP’s Northern New England and Boston KnowledgeNet chapters will co-host a happy hour in the gallery on Aug. 23 with appetizers donated by Alibaba Cloud. (IAPP membership and RSVP required)
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The Art of Watching: Privacy and the Public Eye is on view through Sunday, Sept. 17 at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth, NH. 


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