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The #redactionart story

In 2016 while investigating the practice of redaction in ASIO surveillance files held by the National Archives of Australia, I discovered a collection of #redactionart. You can explore the entire collection online.

The story of this discovery was told on Twitter. There’s more information in my research notebook, and in Turning the inside out, a keynote I gave to the annual conference of the Australian Society of Archivists in 2016.

In 2017, I exhibited The Redaction Zoo as part of ‘Beauties and Beasts’ at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

The Redaction Zoo from Tim Sherratt on Vimeo.

As part of the exhibition, I turned selected images into badges and temporary tattoos by tracing around the original works and creating SVG versions.


The SVG files are all available in this repository for you to download and use in your own #redactionart projects.

#redactionart has since been turned into cookie cutters, a dress, iPhone cases, and t-shirts. The story of its escape into the physical world continues to unfold.

The creation, discovery, display, and reuse of #redactionart is a reminder that the processes that limit our access to information are human in their operation and design. There is nothing magical about the ‘secrets’ locked away in government archives.