Archived News Release from 2007
For Immediate Release
“Exposing the Censor Within” Art Piece – Now at the Downtown Library as Part of The Big Read
Redwood City, CA - March 7 , 2007 -
The provocative art piece Exposing the Censor Within seeks to illustrate the extent to which people censor themselves – in everyday encounters with teachers, friends, and colleagues as well as in their creative endeavors as writers, painters, musicians, or other fields.The people of Redwood City are invited to come to the Downtown Library and anonymously disclose their instances of self-censorship in this commissioned art piece/booth. It’s currently in the lobby of the Downtown Library, 1044 Middlefield Road.
With The Big Read’s focus on the book Fahrenheit 451 and its take on censorship, the Redwood City Library and Montalvo Arts Center ask these pointed questions: How many times do we bite our tongues and stay silent when we want to speak up? Or reconsider sending an email? Questions of what to express and what to repress are issues we grapple with every day. Self-repression often derives from fear of ostracism, of being punished, of not being understood, published, or exhibited. Yet, we are unwilling to admit that we are not really free to say what we like: we all want to deny the censor within.
In Exposing the Censor Within people will anonymously document their experiences with self-censorship. Their answers will then be processed into an art piece “map” of why and when we censor. This will help to explore the mechanisms of self-censorship in the U.S. today and the true extent of the issue. The project depends on a cumulative participation of many people, so the entire community is invited to be a part of this interactive artwork at the Library, Exposing the Censor Within.
The piece is conceived by Svetlana Mintcheva, in cooperation with Montalvo Arts Center. Ms. Mintcheva directs the Arts Program at the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and she has been directly involved in many local and national arts controversies. Drawing on her perspective on the state of creative freedom in the U.S., she writes regularly on emerging trends in censorship, organizes public discussions, and mobilizes support for individual artists. Ms. Mintcheva recently wrote and produced The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance, a video overview on art censorship in the 20th century. She is currently lead curator of Filth, Treason, Blasphemy? Museums as First Amendment Battlegrounds, an exhibition about museums and censorship at the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum in Chicago.
The Big Read offers the classic book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which is available in English and Spanish throughout the community. Residents are invited to read the book, and then join in the incredible variety of community events throughout March, all centered around reading! The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Montalvo Arts Center, and is designed to restore reading to the center of our communities. Details are at redwoodcity.org/thebigread or montalvoarts.org/thebigread.html. This event is part of The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in Partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.
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Redwood City Public Library
Montalvo Arts Center