All That Is Banned Is Desired: A World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression (Oslo)

artsfreedom.org

All That Is Banned Is Desired: A World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression
The Opera House, Oslo, Norway, October 25—26, 2012

Introduction

Over the two days of All That is Banned is Desired: A World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression, artists, journalists, activists, scholars, curators and others will respond to censorship of the arts around the world.

We will discuss and investigate why, where, and how artistic expressions is condemned, banned and persecuted. In particular, we will focus on the three principal agents of censorship — religion, state and market.

Although the effects of censorship can be easily identified in cases where artists are imprisoned or killed, the social and economic repercussions of censorship are more difficult to measure. A culture deprived of its artistic creations and cultural heritage clearly loses an important link to its history and identity.

Cultural artefacts carry with them the power to influence the minds and motivations of the masses and with it, the power to divert people from an awareness of and compliance with the normative behaviours of a society, as dictated by religious and political ideologies. The control of culture is thus a major concern for both clerics and politicians.

But where religion and state decline in importance in the control of artistic expression, another censor appears quite ready to step in to fill the censorial void — namely the market. And there is no guarantee that it will prove to be any less censorious than its religious and political predecessors.

Censorship is characterized by the contradictory fact that by imposing limits it provokes reactions to those limits. By limiting freedom it helps fuels the desire for even greater freedom, as the title of the conference evokes: ‘All that is banned is desired’.

In many ways, the power of nation-states to carry out censorship is being undermined as global communication networks expand and international trade barriers crumble. This means that it is becoming increasingly difficult for governments to control what their citizens have access to; however, history suggests that nation-states will be reluctant to relinquish control.

Conference participants will be invited to debate these and other concerns in relation to specific cases. These cases will be drawn from a wide range of conditions and contexts and will include some that are well known and others that are known to only a few. In addition to deepening our understanding of the fundamental propositions of freedom of expression, the conference will also work toward proposals for monitoring censorship globally, and organising to advance freedom of expression for artists around the world.

PRELIMINARY PROGRAMME

THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2012

09:00: Registration – 09:40: Doors open – 10:00: Doors close
10:00: BEAUTY UNDER PRESSURE

ZARGANAR, Comedian, Actor and Film Director [Burma]
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, Poet and Filmmaker [Burma]
WIN MAW, Musician and Composer [Burma]

Moderator: FRANCES HARRISON, Journalist [UK]

10:40: RELIGION AND ARTISTIC FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

SVETLANA MINTCHEVA, Director of Programmes, National Coalition Against Censorship [USA]
GURPREET KAUR BHATTI, Playwright and Screenwriter [UK]
AZHAR USMAN, Comedian, Activist and Lawyer [USA]

Moderator: KENAN MALIK, Writer, Lecturer and Broadcaster [UK]

11:40: MORAL PANICS – SEXUALITY AND ART

ZANELE MUHOLI, Visual Artist [South Africa]
PANG KHEE TEIK, Arts Consultant and Human Rights Activist [Malaysia]

Moderator: ROBERT SEMBER, Artist and Researcher [South Africa/USA]

12:30: LUNCH

13:45: CORPORATE CENSORSHIP

LARISSA SANSOUR, Visual Artist [Palestine/UK]
NADIA PLESNER, Visual Artist [Denmark]
FREDRIK GERTTEN, Film Director [Sweden]

14:30: HUNGARY – ARTISTIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY IN THE AGE OF XENOPHOBIA

ADAM FISCHER, Chief Conductor [Hungary]
YNGVE ANDRE SØBERG, Soloist at The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet [Norway]

14:45: PUBLIC SPACE AND ART CLASHES

MUSTAPHA BENFODIL, Writer and Visual Artist [Algeria]
LARS Ø RAMBERG, Artist [Norway/Germany]

Moderator: ALESSANDRO PETTI, Architect and Researcher [Italy/Palestine]

15:30: COFFEE BREAK

16:00: TIBET – ARTIST IN EXILE

TENZING RIGDOL, Visual Artist and Poet [Tibet]
TENZIN GÖNPO, Musician [Tibet/France]

Moderator: FRANCES HARRISON, Journalist [UK]

16:30: THE INVISIBLE RED LINE – MANOEUVRING CHINESE ARTS CENSORSHIP

SI HAN, Curator [China/Sweden]

Moderator: FRANCES HARRISON, Journalist [UK]

17:00: STAGE PERFORMANCE

TERAKAFT [Mali]

FRIDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2012

08:45: Doors open – 09:00: Doors close

09:00: OVERCOMING – WOMEN, ART AND EGYPT

SHERINE AMR, Singer [Egypt]
SONDOS SHABAYEK, Writer, Theatre Director and Actress [Egypt]

Moderator: PETR LOM, Filmmaker [Czech Republic/Canada]

09:45: STOP THIS FILTH – ARTISTS UNDER THREAT

DEEYAH, Music Producer [Norway/UK]
ARSHAD HUSSAIN, Actor and Culture Activist [Pakistan]

OLE REITOV, Program Manager, Freemuse

10:05: THE ART OF LOVE: CULTURAL TABOOS AND ARTISTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF ROMANCE IN TRIBAL PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN

GEORGE GITTOES, Painter, Photographer and Filmmaker [Australia]

Moderator: FRANCES HARRISON, Journalist [UK]

10:30: RUSSIA

NIKOLAY OLEYNIKOV, Visual Artist [Russia/Chto Delat]

10:50: COFFEE BREAK

11:20: SYRIA – TUNISIA: ARTS IN RESISTANCE – RESISTANCE IN ART

RACHIDA TRIKI, Film Director and Researcher [Tunisia]
ORWA AL MOKDAD, Actor [Syria]

Moderator: DONATELLA DELLA RATTA, PhD Fellow [Italy]

12:00: FREEDOM THEATRE: WHAT KIND OF FREEDOM?

JONATHAN STANCZAK, Co-Founder and Administrative Manager of the The Freedom Theatre [Sweden/Palestine]

12:20: CUBA (tbc)

13:00: LUNCH

14:00: NOTHING TO ENVY IN THIS WORLD

Moderator: SIGRUN SLAPGARD, Writer, Foreign Correspondent and Board Member of Fritt Ord

14:20: THE LASTING IMPACT OF THE RUSHDIE CASE

WILLIAM NYGAARD, Publisher and Defender of Freedom of Expression [Norway]

14:30: TURKEY

ASLI ERDOĞAN, Writer [Turkey/Austria]
PELIN BAŞARAN, Researcher [Turkey]

Moderator: KENAN MALIK, Writer, Lecturer and Broadcaster [UK]

15:10: THE ARTIST VS. THE STATE: THE CASE OF LAPIRO DE MBANGA

MARAN TURNER, Executive Director, Freedom Now [USA]

CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE STATE: PUSSY RIOT

ALEXANDER CHEPARUKHIN, Music Producer, Promoter and Founder and Director of GreenWave Music [Russia]

15:40: PERFORMANCE

OUTSPOKEN, Artist and Community Activist [Zimbabwe]

The conference is organised by Fritt Ord and Freemuse, and is generously supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and PostkodLotteriet, Sweden.

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Filed under censorship, contemporary art, critical thought, international affairs, political repression

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