Sj7g09's Blog

Archive for January 2010

Posted on: January 29, 2010

“I am absolutely shocked by the level of violence in this game and am particularly concerned about how realistic the game itself looks. Whilst I appreciate that this game has been certified as an 18, I firmly believe that certain levels of violence should not be made into interactive entertainment. This would include acting as a terrorist, as is the case here, or violence against women. I will be raising this issue in Parliament on Monday.”

– Keith Vaz, Labour MP (yes, you heard right, Labour…..), on Modern Warfare 2

The sad thing is that many “feminists” will totally agree with his suggestion that violence towards women is something that should not be depicted. And, while that is their right, it is also the right of people who do not share this opinion to be listened to and taken seriously, and that’s not what’s happening at the moment. Has Mr Vaz never considered that actually many people will take much greater offence to his comment than to fictional depictions of violence towards women? I know that is certainly the case for me – I don’t need an MP to try to legislate to protect me by stopping nasty nasty things happening to fictional female characters in the media, who I must identify with because they are of my gender. Why is it different to show violence towards a woman than to show violence towards a man? To make this distinction between genders is inherently sexist, derogatory and degrading. You need to have the same level of violence towards everyone, regardless of gender, otherwise it’s basically a case of grouping women with animals and children as beings put below men by God who need to be protected because they don’t have the sufficient skills to look after themselves. Do we really want to be that society? I want to make it clear that I’m not suggested that all media violence should be banned in order to level the field – if anything, I would welcome more violence in the media seeing as our government doesn’t think our fragile brains can deal with it. It’s only ever the pro-censorship groups that ever get listened to by the media, I guess to appease the Daily Mail reading public – why is there a group like MediaWatch that is morally authoritarian, religious, and only reflects one viewpoint, and they have sway over policy?

It’s funny that the government seems to think that withholding violent/sexual material will make people conform to the ‘right’ way of behaving. I know that the most frustration, anger, upset, for me comes from looking on the internet and knowing that there are things that I can’t see – either that I can’t look at because of legality, or things that have been removed, things that just don’t exist or can’t be found. Today, while looking at all the parliamentary debates, I realised that the people who supposedly represent me have no better understanding of the issues than I do, and there is no one there that actually represents my opinion. It’s so frustrating to know I have absolutely no power, and therefore have to live by moral codes and laws that I fundamentally disagree with. I don’t think any amount of exposure to extreme pornography or horror films or violent videogames would make me as pent-up, angry and violent as knowing that I have no control, that I’m being forced to live, act, think and feel in certain ways in order to not be seen as deviant. It’s quite ironic really – the government is against the domination and degradation of women, but what about all the women who want to be free to make a choice about what they expose themselves to? I read a fantastic quote when researching NF713 – “You Brits lost your freedom such a long time ago, no one even notices anymore. You never had freedom of speech anyway. Even the US has lost it’s freedoms in it’s short lifetime. We are all screwed by sadistic bald guys, not the sexual ones in movies, just the real life politicians . . .”

Posted on: January 29, 2010

When checking my referrers for the day, I found a fantastic blog –  Not sure why it came up as one of my referrers (I’m still not absolutely certain what ‘referrers’ are even) because I’m pretty sure I won’t have been linked on there, but never mind.

It’s exposed me to a lot of things about censorship that I wouldn’t have thought about before, for example issues to do with drugs and video games, as I haven’t put so much of a focus on these aspects in my own work as I don’t know so much about them.

On the theme of drugs, I’d never really considered that there is one prevailing view on drugs that permeates society, and no other views are allowed, to the extent that is actually true. I can’t imagine that the government has a pro, or even neutral, body on drugs, only organisations against drugs, trying to prevent them. This view is in the media too – whenever celebrities, for example Joss Stone or Lily Allen, make a statement so outrageous to say that drugs might not kill you, that they don’t turn everyone who takes them into a prostitute, rapist or dealer, these anti-drug organisations say that they should not be allowed to put their opinion across, basically because it differs from their’s, and it might influence young people. I can kind of see the issue with influencing young people – yes, it might influence them, but I don’t think it would make people go out and take drugs, it might just give them a more reasonable view of drugs, that actually their schools are lying to them when they say that drugs are always bad, if you take them once you will become addicted, and you will die. No shadow of a doubt there, kids. There have been studies, you know…. Studies commissioned by an anti-drug government to produce findings that agree with their ideology, nicely proven by the fact that when the government’s chief drug advisor, Professor David Nutt, said that cannabis, ecstacy and LSD posed less threat than alcohol or cigarettes, he was asked to resign. If we can’t trust you to agree with us when we pay you to, we’ll find someone else who will.

Posted on: January 26, 2010

Posted on: January 25, 2010

After writing that last blog post, I started to think of trying to make another book, similar to the ones I’ve made earlier in this project. At first, I thought of drawing or painting into a book – unsure whether this would be a written book, lined book, plain book – using images that I’m drawn to, the sorts of images of women that I’d focused on up until this project. So, in essence, I would have some pretty pictures of pretty women in pretty dresses. The idea from then was to systematically mutilate the images – cutting them, perhaps with something sharp and flat like a razorblade to make the edges of the paper gape like a wound, stabbing pins through the pages but also, by default, through the women. Since I read the quote that suggested that some books would be better off mutilated or destroyed altogether, I really wanted to work with this concept, and look at the similarities between destroying a book and destroying a person. I also like that through this, it draws attention to the issue of depiction – the violence isn’t happening to the person in the picture, or even necessarily to the picture, it is enacted on the pages, but people have a tendency to link these sort of overlayed concepts. Instead of seeing a mutilated book, they personify the images, and it becomes something obscene because of imagining violence towards the woman in the picture. It also interested me as to whether a mainstream image could become something disgusting or obscene through a physical action towards it – whether making some sort of change to it that wasn’t even to the content of the image, but its physical form, could alter how it was viewed. I think I was particularly drawn into this idea because of being told that I could work with top-shelf pornographic images, because they were definitely legal (although they also suggested that anything on the internet with disclaimers would be legal, so they’re not particularly versed in the new laws. I’ve seen illegal material in HMV since the new laws….), but would they be viewed differently if they were changed or used in different contexts?

In some ways, this linked to other ideas I had on the misreading of depiction. I wanted to use images of women that I’d collected from fashion magazines as a teenager, almost in a sort of shrine – ideally, I wanted to stick the images to the walls of my bedroom, have them surrounded in lights, etc. I thought that this might make for interesting viewer interpretation – because of schemas and stereotyping, would people assume it was about teenage self-image, perhaps something in criticism of fashion magazines, or just generally following mainstream feminism?

Posted on: January 24, 2010

The day before the first date of my assessment, I came up with an idea that I wanted to rushedly explore before the hand-in. I’d been skirting around the idea, but it hadn’t quite crystallised until that point. The entire process in this project had very much reminded me of the restriction of living in my family home and having to hide things from my parents for fear of their opinions, or punishment, except that the entities subjecting me to this this time were the university and the police. Since I was about 10, I’d been writing diaries, but there were always things that I feared writing, even though they were supposedly private, just in case they were ever read. Over time, these variously concerned religion, sexuality, depression, self-harm, self-identity, other miscellaneous secrets. If I was brave enough to write these things down, often I’d gone through the diaries afterwards crossing or ripping out the offending articles to protect myself from the fear of discovery. One issue in this is very similar to the things I’ve been dealing with in this project, which was printing out photos to stick in my diaries – most of these were destroyed because of fear of their discovery by my parents. These images held such an importance to me at the time that I was willing to go through what I perceived to be substantial risk to own them, by printing them late at night with all the doors through my house closed so as to not wake my parents, just to destroy them at a later date because I couldn’t stand the constant guilt, shame and fear of possessing them. Because I felt this strongly about them, they had that much effect on me, I should have kept them – I remember them even now, and they shaped my identity and development in some ways, but I now have no access to them because I had to annihilate them to annihilate the unacceptable parts of myself at the time. I was made to feel that those parts of myself needed to be symbolically cut away, which I all too willingly oblidged to at the time. Very literally, this is symbolic annihilation – by destroying the images, you destroy your link to them, and therefore that part of yourself. It’s almost like self-harming in that through destroying the image, it is a self-hating action, it’s hating, denying and destroying part of yourself. I’ve been very tempted to include self-harm in this project to convey that, as I’m not sure anything gets across the nature of this as well as that would, but I don’t feel it would go down particularly well.

Anyway, the images here are a representation of this, and I hope they convey in part the self-harming nature of these actions – the frenzied, violent scribbles. I began by writing anything that I was thinking – going through the project, how I felt about it, explaining it’s similarity to my childhood diaries, then describing the sorts of things that I wrote in my diaries that I destroyed in the past. I wrote everything openly, honestly, and divulged pieces of information there that I wouldnt tell many people at all – childhood memories, formation of my identity, feelings, experiences, fantasies, anything that came into my mind. I wanted the book to be intensely voyeuristic – that people could learn things about me that they never could from talking to me, and they would know things from that book that made me seem like a totally different person to who I seem like in everyday, shallow meetings with me. Because of the honest and explicit nature of this piece of work, it had to be destroyed. I conformed to all the things I hated, remade the mistakes of the past by annihilating something that was important to me, something that would have been important to look back on in the future as a representation of who I was at this time. At first, I wanted to take photographs of the book to know what it said – I’m the sort of person who wants copies of everything, I like to build up documentation of things that I might want to remember in the future because that’s the only way of having any idea what happened at the time and how you felt about it as your past self. I decided that this invalidated the point of the book – there could be no copy of it, because it became “for my own good” to destroy it, in case there were consequences to it existing. Just as I’ve compromised my self and morals so many times before – destroying diaries, editing my blog, deleting photographs – I had to with this too, even though it went against everything I wanted, embodying a lack of freedom, autonomy, a restriction, psychologically mirroring the material that conveys these qualities in a physical sense that are so obscene. It very much links to my idea of using physical harm on the female body to convey how authoritarian rules become what they despise – in trying to prevent harm to women, it almost condones the destruction of the female body for having the potential to be obscene, much like the call to mutilate books to save people from the potential harm they could cause.

Posted on: January 24, 2010

Eventually, not being able to express myself through art took it’s toll, and I started drawing again. I think these reflect the sort of state I was in at the time – I’d lost my confidence in actually trying to create work that was explicit, that could convey anything to the person viewing it. In some ways, this helped me to develop my practice, because it made me change how I was doing things, and despite losing confidence in some of my abilities, it gave me the opportunity and freedom to do something that I had never been able to do before. Instead of drawing from life or photographs, I tried to focus on drawing things to represent events or feelings that were important to me at the time. I think in a lot of ways, these drawings sum up part of this project for me, and it has followed a path that was both predictable and very unexpected. At the beginning of the project, I wanted to explore the subconscious, and how this can manifest through art, and I think that these drawings go some way towards achieving this. I also had the idea that I would try to collaborate with the ethics committee through starting my work, proposing it via the ethics forms, then seeing where it needed to be changed, and going along with their advice. This never came to fruition because of the short space of time between the beginning of the project, and the christmas holiday. Instead, this seemed to come about naturally through me starting by creating what I see as vibrant, free and expressive pieces of art – in the beginning, I was trying new things, experimenting, really grappling with concepts and ideas, and these took new shapes and forms in response to the feedback I was getting from the institution. The more expressive and outside of the boundaries my work got, the more the institution retorted with increasingly drastic measures. It started with censorship of my blog, progressing to meetings with staff, being told that it was for my own good – the story everchanging as to why it had happened, culminating in me being told that I may be reported to the police if any of my work is shown to staff and they deem it to be illegal. In reponse to these threats, my work ceased, changed, and dulled over time – at first, I started to deal with personal aspects of the events, making videos showing how upsetting the process was for me, but eventually, it all dulled down into the sort of images shown above. Instead of the paintings I was creating at the beginning that I now fear to show anyone, I’d bowed to the institution, giving in to their idea that I could do whatever I wanted, so long as no one else saw. That has always been the issue here – they didn’t like my work being accessible to the other students on the blog, then they didn’t want me to share my work with anyone in case it was illegal in any way – the boundaries got more and more restrictive, until I couldn’t share my work with anyone in its literal form, meaning it had to take on the form of feeble scribbles like these. No one knows what they mean – they’re completely safe, completely unoffensive. They could mean anything, they could depict the most disgusting, obscene, offensive messages imaginable, but because they don’t transmit to the viewer, it doesn’t matter, because they hold no power or influence as they are untranslatable, neutralised.

Posted on: January 24, 2010

Since the start of the Christmas holidays, I’ve been trying to be more relaxed about my work. I’d got into a situation where I was very stressed, and needed to take a step back from what I was doing to review where I was, what was going on, and how I could continue. From there, I ended up really slowing things down. I didn’t particularly want to – I was still absolutely passionate and enraged about all the things I was working on, but that passion was turning into something that was very detrimental to me. Every time I thought about my work, I got very upset. Every time I went on the internet, I tended to get hooked into researching art, sociology, law, and it got very time-consuming, and it wasn’t making me happy.

I don’t like how this sounds, but I started to do art as a hobby. I went back to taking photographs of things I thought were pretty, I drew things that were aesthetically pleasing… It was less risky than what I was doing, and I’d had it drilled into me that if I continued with what I was doing, bad things would happen to me. I was completely drained, I didn’t want to bother fighting something that everyone was telling me wasn’t worth it – I didn’t have good enough ideas to bother fighting for.

In a lot of ways, this break did me good. It was nice respite from the fear and paranoia in my little flat – dreading going back to university, just in case things were taken further. In a state of anxiety, lack of sleep, absolute paranoia from what people on the outside were saying to me, I had somewhat convinced myself that I would be thrown out of university, or that the authorities were somehow investigating me already, so it helped to get away from the environment I was in – to go home, be safe for at least a few weeks, in my mind anyway. Being at home meant little to no work being done, other than my dabbling with aesthetics, but in doing this, I accessed something that had been the primary objective of my initial project. In the beginning, I wanted to look at the subconscious and explore it through imagery, and so in having the freedom to take silly little pictures of anything I wanted, I think it showed the things that I placed importance on. I was able to access a child-like state – things really were good in the world, because instead of focusing on all the things I hated, I could wander around Tesco’s for hours, picking out all the things I liked and would want to capture in images. The shiniest fruits, cuddly toys, picture books. It’s liberating to behave like this, to really appreciate all the little things that usually you don’t notice. It made me happier to ignore everything for a while, then go back to thinking after this reverie… I think after this, I’m doing better at combining thinking with taking some time off to not think, even though I still take things to extremes somewhat. At the moment, I’ve done very little thinking… I attribute that mostly to my very average mark from the blog project – I got no feedback on what to do better, so I’ve assigned myself to my fate, that if I worked that hard on that and got an average grade, the same will happen with this project, therefore there’s no point in worrying about it or overworking myself when I don’t know what direction to channel the work in. I’m proud of it anyway, and ideas are totally subjective… If they can’t even give me any feedback, then why do I need to care what they think?

  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se