Saturday, December 13, 2008

Welcome to the UK: please check your art at the border.

“Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.”
Pablo Picasso

Over at the Fluffytek Art Blog: Destroyers of Art, Lin writes about a major changing coming to the UK when the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008 comes into effect in January. The act makes it illegal to own or possess sexually explicit imagery that is defined as "extreme." So, what's extreme? Well, based on their reading of the act, "any images involving bondage, BDSM and any images which so much as hint at (pretend) violence." As a result, they've gone through and started deleting significant chunks of their portfolio. That's ... mind blowing.

I mean, think about it. Imagine you're an artist. You have a large body of work associated with you. Things you've created, lines of thought that you've explored and turned into something tangible, heck stuff you may never have even published but made for yourself for the sheer enjoyment of doing it. Now imagine that three weeks from now, some of the amazing balloon paintings you've worked on, depicting clowns and their big shoes, is deemed unwholesome and disturbing to society. Why? Because there's a small sect of people out there who lust after hurting balloon-wielding clowns and your art might ... might serve as a catalyst for them acting out on their inhibitions. And by creating that art, you enable them to act upon those thoughts, whether or not they are real or imagined by the bureaucracy at large.

Now, go and burn your art depicting any of this because you fear the reprisal that could potentially come. Oh, and all those people you happened to collaborate with or take inspiration from? You might want to distance yourself from them too.

Mind blowing, isn't it?

This is what they're dealing with at the moment because they genuinely fear the changes coming in January. I don't know what I'd do if faced with the very real possibility of having to delete parts of my portfolio because someone in authority thought it was bad.

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