Fraunhofer Lines 004, 2015
James Bridle

Ditone print
60 cm x 80cm
Photo: Gianmarco Bresadola

The Fraunhofer Lines are a series of prints which document the patterns of redactions made to official documents to hide information before their release in Freedom of Information Act requests. The documents were scanned with facial recognition software to plot spectrographs that visualize through absence the proportion of deleted information, according to the amount of light that is blocked by the obscuring marks on the page. The title and aesthetic of the series is drawn from Joseph von Fraunhofer’s diagrams of spectral lines of light, which revealed gaps in the light frequencies reaching the earth’s surface, and pointed toward new methods of analysis and understanding.  Fraunhofer Lines 004 is based on Information Commissioner’s Office Reports on Police surveillance from 2008–2012. The ICO is the UK body responsible for providing oversight of and access by citizens to state information, but its own reports are heavily redacted.

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