The Census Project

Anneke Dresselhuis

The Census Project is a question-based dialogue with Canada’s national census, and with statistics, more broadly. The work asks questions of state logic, of the false western assumption of linear time, of spatial control, and of who and what is accounted for in the scientific processes used to measure a state body, namely in the place referred to as “Canada.” What does a method of reasoning like the scientific method allow us to measure? What does it cost to make oneself legible to the state? Who is included in the portrait of this place called “Canada”? How are identity, relations to place, culture, body, self and conceptions of home constituted and rendered by statistical logics?

This multi-media installation explores how state subjecthood and narratives of time and space are constituted through the apparatus of the national census. Drawing from visual traditions of data visualization and the history of statistical practice as a strategy of colonial expansion and governance, the work sheds light on and offers a critique into how colonial statistical logics operate in Canadian politics. The Census Project is an invitation to reckon with notions of autonomy and privacy in the current information state and to imagine other ways of telling stories about ourselves and this place called “Canada” that celebrate the subjective, undocumentable, hidden and erased forms of life and practice that are held in the memory of this land.

Annotated Census


Access the work on Google Drive.


This academic work is licensed under Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC 4.0.


Cifor, M., Garcia, P., Cowan, T.L., Rault, J., Sutherland, T., Chan, A., Rode, J., Hoffmann, A.L., Salehi, N., Nakamura, L. (2019). Feminist Data Manifest-No. Retrieved from:

Halpern, O., & e-Duke Books Scholarly Collection 2014. (2014;2015;). Beautiful data: A history of vision and reason since 1945. Duke University Press.

Fishman, R. (1977). Urban utopias in the twentieth century: Ebenezer howard, frank lloyd wright, and le corbusier. Basic Books.

Mykkanen, J. (1994). ‘To methodize and regulate them’: William petty’s governmental science of statistics. History of the Human Sciences, 7(3), 65-88. 

Russell, L. (2020). Glitch feminism: A manifesto. Verso.

Emejulu, A. (2022). Fugitive feminism. Silver Press.

Statistics Canada, Guide to the Census of Population, 2021. Reproduced and distributed on an “as is” basis with the permission of Statistics Canada.

Vol. 5 (2024)