Sixty messages were created for the Digital Natives project: three of the contributors’ messages were censored by the corporation that is under contract to manage the billboard’s content, Astral Media Outdoor. Several messages from the public were also censored before our second rollout on April 18.
On April 30 (just in time for the Vancouver Marathon) an outcropping of signs appeared.
We are pleased to note that these messages will be included as part of the Digital Natives contribution to the TIME-BASED program at Xwáýxway (Stanley Park), part of the SummerLive celebration, July 8, 9, 10, 2011.
cheyanne turions comments on Public Language Trouble on her blog:
I first saw the image of Lady Pink wearing a t-shirt bearing one of Jenny Holzer’s most famous truisms: ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE, on the cover of Vanguard magazine back in 1983.
Corporations intent on “protecting” the public from “offensive messages” is an abuse of power.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
It’s sagacious to invoke art to explain art, Barbara. I applaud the move. Jenny Holzer pretty much sums it up doesn’t she? For me, the truism explicates the corporate censor as well as quixotic artists.
Two messages from the public have been blocked for our April 18 re-boot:
‘”Death to the Sign” – Roberto Bolano’
‘censored billboard texts to be Digital Natives t-shirts’
If you’re not going to be good, be careful. – Mum
No surprises here.
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Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you have to say it. But if you feel have to say it, make sure you’re super careful how you say it. – Mum
I don’t agree with but I’m not surprised by the censor. Not. One. Little. Bit.
Yes, Dan, it’s interesting to consider what exactly would put the company at risk of litigation. I think Edgar Heap of Birds’ message is quite carefully crafted to make oblique references to the Olympics, to religion and the history of colonization. His commentary on how Canada uses First Nations images and symbols to promote its international image, after having used the Indian Act and residential schools to attempt to obliterate First Nations culture, are ideas that are commonly discussed in public here. It does reveal that the billboard is a very private piece of sky, for all its public presence.
Or risk of liability having nothing to do with the artists or message at all.
Not only artistic expression, but typical behavior of the colonizers (which differ from settlers, IMHO). They really should stop stereotyping themselves.