Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents

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This Week's Featured Case


Artist: Andrea Gonzalez and Meghan Callahan-Scarcella

Year: 2016

Date of Action: May 2016

Region: North America

Location: Susan E. Wagner High School, Staten Island, NY

Subject: Nudity, Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Mixed Media, Public Art, Photography

Confronting Bodies: Susan E. Wagner High School

Description of Artwork: For a student exhibition in the lobby of Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island, Meghan Callahan-Scarcella and Andrea Gonzalez, classmates and best friends, collaborated on a photo-collage project to address sexual consent and rape culture. Callahan-Scarcella shot a photograph of the bare back of Gonzalez, and they superimposed texts such as "No Means No," "You Don't Own Me," "My Body, My Rules," and so on.

The Incident: The photo-collage was removed from the exhibition due to its depiction of Gonzalez's bare back. Students and parents alike were outraged by the artwork's removal. (May 11): NCAC sent a letter of protest to the school's principal.

Results of Incident: To protest the censorship, students circulated a petition at school, and then an online petition was created. At first, the administration justified removal of the work with the bizarre claim that it was a violation of the school's dress code. Later, in a meeting with Student Government, Principal Giordano explained that the age of the model in the photograph (Gonzalez is 15) was his reason for removing it, despite the fact the image is patently non-obscene and non-pornographic. Callahan-Scarcella and Gonzalez later agreed to re-shoot the photograph with Gonzalez wearing a t-shirt, using the same messages. The revised work was returned to the exhibition.

Source: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/susan_wagner_students_react_to.html

Staten Island High School Art Students Told to Clothe their Anti-Rape Artwork, MAY 9, 2016

What is Censorpedia?

Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.

Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.

Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by medium, by grounds for censorship, or explore a random case.

Activists can search for ongoing cases or contribute a case that is ongoing or recently resolved.

Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to add cases they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.

Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.

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