Art and Conflict / On Censorship and Self-Censorship

Sept. 7, 7pm


Many questions are raised by Maayan Amir and Ruti Sela’s Image Blockade exhibition that point to larger issues of freedom and oppression, including censorship and self-censorship. Three distinguished speakers will focus on how censorship intersects with art, power, and national meta-narratives.

Artist, curator, and writer Sofia Bempeza will discuss censorship and the interdependence of “Hegemony” and “Agonism” according to thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Chantal Mouffe. Mouffe is especially aligned with Agonism, a political theory that emphasizes the positive aspects of political conflict. By analyzing Exterritory’s “Image Blockade” and other examples, Bempeza will look at Agonism in the public sphere and how art practices contribute in challenging relationships of institutional power.

Journalist and editor Noam Sheizaf will discuss how exterritory is created in Israeli media narratives, mostly through censorship and self-censorship. Sheizaf will focus on the Mavi Marmara incident, in which the IDF confiscated all photographic material and used it to create its own narrative of the event, in contrast to the invisibility of Israel’s nuclear power, which is absent from virtually all media and consequently from Israel’s national historical and popular meta-narratives.

Chen Tamir will give a brief historical survey of the “Culture Wars” in the United States during the early 1990s and their roots in the liberal era of the 1960s. The presentation will focus on the conservative backlash in the federal government against contemporary art and the rise of manipulating funding as a means of censorship in the United States.

Presentations will be followed by a discussion moderated by CCA Director and Chief Curator Sergio Edelsztein.