One of my favorite moments of the day is perusing the Art Daily emails that come my way. Every once in a while, hidden between the announcements of who’s doing what job where and what is currently selling at Christie’s (and at what price!) you can spot an interesting public art project or artists. Today it was Antoni Muntadas
I was not familiar with his work but I quickly realized I should be. A quick google search brought up The File Room project.
The File Room is a seemingly never ending space addressing free speech and censorship internationally and throughout history. The physical installation has popped up here and there but it is the incredibly interesting online archive that sucked me in!
The piece is an archive of projects that have been censored. You can search by location, date, medium, and reason for censorship.
I was initially struck by the dance category and was surprised by the forms of dance that caused political upheaval including Capoeira and The Fandango. Both unique forms of public expression. The degree to which the movement stirs up emotions and energy explains their inclusion on the list.
The controversy surrounding rave accessories is an ironic circumstance. A pacifier as a symbol for a drug culture seems strangely appropriate.
Of course I had to check out the Public Art section. A comprehensive listing of murals, posters, and art projects staking claim in public spaces voicing ideas and opinions. Who knew the kind of trouble one could get into
posting images of Iraqi Citzens. And the ever popular naked being pops up a few times, from Greek Statue that offended homeschoolers to the partially exposed breast depicted in a painting ( I wonder if it was the breast or the fact that she was breastfeeding in public that caused the stir?!? ). Does anyone else find it strange that this type of issue is right on par with the “door knob in the men’s room”?
I even happened upon a mural by an artist once involved in a local art fair I coordinated. I guess it makes sense since she had some work even then that had to stay in the car for “special viewings”. I especially like the reason this piece was censored – not sure how that all went down.
The file room is a great example of a project that will never go away because the issue it addresses will never go away. One of the exciting conundrums of our society and our ever growing global community is facing struggle between freedom of expression and other’s freedom to not be offended.
Even the internet itself is in question!