Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Ai Wei Wei @ Alcatraz

What do we know about censorship?  I would argue that we are intimately acquainted with it.  Everyday we censor ourselves.  It is the essence of being a human alive with a modern conscience in this modern world.  We not only censor our words, our voices... but we censor our actions, and even our thoughts, every day.  It is how we have allowed ourselves to be silenced by a world that already knows what it wants to hear.  Censorship is how we keep ourselves in prison every day.  Keeping our imaginations silent within us is the ultimate form of censorship, and I can see that most people I meet practice this every day.

What do we know about propaganda?  We live inside of it.  The very world we have come to know as comfortable is built on very strong ideals that are self-supporting.  The idea that we can eat cows but not cats.  That we must live in houses built of wood and not cobb.  That our children must attend universities, or that we must work a certain number of hours each week.  The whole system is designed to keep itself looking good. What about raising meat horses? What about telling your children to avoid college and never buy a home-- to choose homelessness even?  What if you never got married, instead choosing partners throughout your life that continued to foster your growth and creativity?

Spread lard on your sandwich.  Quit your job tomorrow and live in a cabin for a year.  Become friends with a prisoner on death row.  What's stopping you?  Are you censored? What is that feeling you feel when you think about these things? 

My new favorite thinker, and constant reminder that the most insidious form of censorship is not applied externally, Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. 

These are a few images from my visit to his installation at Alcatraz, in San Francisco.