The Inburgering Files

The Inburgering Files (2010)

The Inburgering Files is a work comprising a number of laminated photocopies - roughly stitched together to form homemade Mondrians -- of the 'portfolio' section of the Inburgering. The artist had to complete this process in order to stay in The Netherlands.

Inburgering is an assimilation program for all migrants. The artwork also contained a folder full of the paperwork the artist had received over the years, to do with this compulsory assimilation into Dutch society. This outlined various IQ tests the artist had to perform, language exams and the 'citizenship' components of the process.

The portfolio section saw the artist going to different people in Dutch society, for instance, the police, the local council, the job seeking agency, the library, the school etc and having a conversation in Dutch. These were sort of 'role plays'. For instance, with the police the artist had to report that her bike had been stolen, and he filled in the fake details and asked fake questions to do with the fake incident. Then he filled in and signed the form, declaring that Dutch was spoken and that he could understand the artist, and that she understood the process. In many institutions there were even special people trained to deal with these role plays, creating a new layer within organizations to deal with migrants doing the portfolio. Other forms had to do with proving you could use an ATM, or read the garbage collection roster.

There were thirty of these forms to complete, and this was just a small part of the full Inburgering process. The other parts were a number of computer tests over how well you understood the rules in the Netherlands, for instance when and how exactly you had to put out the garbage. Your ability to speak is tested by computers, and you are tested again by two people in a roll playing situation. The program itself is being trialed in Nederlands and, once perfected, is expected to be rolled out across the entire EU.

These images show The Inburgering Files installed at Delicatessen space in Amsterdam Oost, June 2010, as part of the News From Home solo exhibition. Other works shown were LivingTomorrow, amsterdam oost, TOR and non-western.