Exposing the Censor Within is an interactive public installation conceived by Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC Director of Programs, and realized in cooperation with Montalvo Arts Center.
By guaranteeing the anonymity of the confessors, who might not want to share their stories publicly, Exposing the Censor Within seeks to expose the extent to which we censor ourselves – in everyday life encounters with family, teachers, friends and colleagues as well as in our creative lives as writers, journalists, curators, painters, filmmakers or musicians.
Were there times you were afraid to speak up? Do you sometimes wish you spoke your mind more? Do you wish you censored yourself more? Have you changed what you’ve written for fear it would get you into trouble? In your art, music, writing, or filmmaking do you ever stop yourself from doing what you want because you are afraid that people might misunderstand? Have you ever stopped yourself from saying something because you thought it might be rude or insulting? Are you glad you stopped yourself?
The installation invites people to enter a “confessional” booth and write their story about self-censorship on an index card. The (anonymous) cards are then processed into site specific poster-portraits of self-censorship. Exposing the Censor Within opened in Redwood City, CA on March 2, 2007 and then traveled to the Montalvo Arts Center and the College Art Association 2008 Annual Conference in Dallas, TX. The project simultaneously launched in the Virtual Coalition Against Censorship pavillion in the multiplayer online world Second Life. It continues to travel and is now available for bookings .
In the meantime you can tell us a story about a time when you censored yourself using the comments section below. An archive of stories we have collected will be posted shortly. Stay tuned!