Susan Merrick

Artist and Interpreter. Power Language Access

Where the fxxx did January go!? 2016 and Censorship

'Ring a ring of roses' still of film piece.

susanmerrick.co.uk

I can’t believe it’s already February. I’m not sure why it’s always a surprise that time goes by and the days and weeks disappear. It’s not a particularly new concept to me! Understanding time is something that we seem to have always been interested in… In art, philosophy, literature and science.

I was lucky enough to hear the Artist Rachel Lowe speak yesterday and she has spent much of her career as an artist focusing on our western, human, preoccupation with time, the moment, the present and capturing it. And ultimately our inability to ever truly capture it through respresentation. We can only truly do this through the experience itself.

As I consider the pace of life I am keenly aware of my own deadlines and upcoming events. The next event I have is my first solo exhibition since starting at UCA. For the first time I will be showing my practice as it exists today… And that is scaring the pants off me!

The exhibition I am setting up is a culmination of the last few months work around mediation and language. The venue is a cafe/wine bar and is quirky and open to my ideas but as a family space still holds its own restrictions as to what they allow to be shown. This was really interesting to me as an artist working with language and it sent me on a path of exploration!

I had an afternoon in the UCA archives and while there I came across some information about censorship which has formed part of a piece for the exhibition. It also led me to have several conversations about censorship with some peers. It turns out that the last exhibition I was in had to be censored briefly as a school group came in. The┬áthread illustration of a vagina in the exhibition had to be covered. I’m not mentioning this to judge the decision of the school/parents or curators at all, but what I found interesting is that no one thought to cover my work…… Not a vagina, but a series of 8 clips denoting violence, rape and assault against women. These clips were in sign language, so it seems that the silence of my violent translations kept them hidden in a completely unexpected way. This reinforces my initial reasons for using sign language, because of the unfounded but consistent beliefs (from my own observations) that it is a ‘nice’ language, meant only to ‘help’ people. No one thought to check the transcriptions and see that actually it is a language as any other and can contain just as much violence and extreme ideas as English….. And in fact contained much more likely to offend material than a Vagina!

Have a wonderful week, and remember to keep your eyes open for any random censorship or lack of it that sparks your interest!

Susan

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