August 25, 2009

Censorship in Venice

For more, see Jacques Charlier 100 Sexes D'Artistes (French, English, and Italian versions available; click on the image for a larger version); via e-flux:

In a letter dated 18 March 2009, the [an agency of the City] of Venice announced the refusal of the project 100 Sexes d'Artistes by Jacques Charlier (which should have officially represented the French-Speaking Community of Belgium in the present Biennale) because "certain posters could offend the shared sense of public decency."

On 14 April1, we sent you a letter (in Italian) in which we posed the following questions:
  • could you tell us where the "shared sense of public decency" begins and ends by indicating which of the 100 posters might be considered offensive?
  • is the "shared sense of public decency" so fragile in Venice that it cannot tolerate the presence of a few posters dispersed around the city? And, in addition, are the same criteria applied to advertising, which is more invasive and sexist?
  • finally, who decides what constitutes the "shared sense of public decency"?
We have received no reply as yet.

You may be aware that the project censored by the Biennale and by the City of Venice has since been presented in public space in nine European cities (Antwerp, Belgrade, Bergen, Brussels, Linz, Luxembourg, Metz, Namur and Sofia) where it was welcomed with the good humour appropriate to this project . . . .

However, thanks to the unconditional support of the Ministry of Culture and Broadcasting of the French-Speaking Community of Belgium and Wallonie-Bruxelles International, we are going to publish a book relating the incredible story of this double censorship.

* * * * *
. . . we would be very happy to be able to include your answers in this publication . . .

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