TOOLS FOR SELF CENSORSHIP (2014)

As the delimitation between our virtual and physical presence is rapidly fading away, and the consequences of our activities online permeate to the real world, we have become more careful about letting others know what we really think, self-censoring in one way or another. Recently Facebook released the results of a study, in which they discovered that 71% of the participants are actively self censoring what they share online. Consequently, censorship is slowly being accepted and becoming part of our everyday lives Real or Virtual, here are two examples:

Less than 6 months ago, Jared Polin, the host of a popular show about photography on youtube, whom makes a living also by selling t-shirts printed with the phrase: “I SHOOT RAW” to his audience, was prevented from entering the Six Flags amusement park, while wearing this T-shirt, because security personnel of the park deemed it’s message ‘inappropriate’, even though the terms RAW and Shooting are common terms in photography language.

Social networks, are also actively removing content that is deemed ‘inappropriate’ –sometimes even with help from their users–, which has sparked some virtual protests against these policies, i.e. the #freethenipple campaign on instagram, which caught my attention because after those incidents, I started noticing how most fashion photographers that I follow, now actively censor their images before uploading them, in order to avoid having their accounts suspended or even removed.

With all of this in mind, I’ve started exploring the concept and process of censorship, and I’ve been working on a series of objects that are meant to make the process of self-censorship easier, translating what happens digitally or with a marker on printed images, to the physical world, and also taking the process of censoring an image to the point of it’s creation. As of now the tools consist of 2 black bars made of plaster and a real life pixellation helmet, which is a metal cube with sides of clear Plexiglass sheets, meant to pixellate a person’s head. I would like to create a series of photos, where I ask strangers in the street, to allow me to create a portrait of them, using a medium format film camera and an instant film camera, while they are wearing these tools. In exchange for their participation, subjects for this project will receive a small instant photo print of a portrait also shot by me.

NOTES:

Facebook is tracking what you don’t do on Facebook article on ARS Technica
Google Transparency Report For Goverment Takedown Requests
Scout LaRue Willis #freethenipple protest
Rihanna’s Instagram Account Suspended
Jared Polin: “Six Flags Denied Me Access To Their PARK Because Of My I SHOOT RAW SHIRT RANT”