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Thread: Is it Art? or Porn? Censorship

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    Is it Art? or Porn? Censorship

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/...417-1djv8.html

    ARTISTS could be forced to have their work classified before being displayed and some work could be blacklisted despite being legal, if recommendations to a federal inquiry into Australia's film and literature classification scheme are accepted.

    The Senate inquiry, launched by the conservative Christian Guy Barnett, has heard submissions calling for any film containing full frontal nudity to be refused classification; artworks and books showing nudity to be classified; and all artworks to be restricted to certain age groups. ''Artistic merit'' should be abandoned when classifying art.

    The executive director of the National Association for the Visual Arts, Tamara Winikoff, said many of the organisations that had made submissions to or spoken at the inquiry's hearings, and members of the inquiry, had tried to demonise artists and paint them as child pornographers.
    Another interesting discussion.

    To me there is a place for artistic merit and some of these recommendations probably go to far.
    On the other hand open slather is also not an option.

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    Again an emotive topic, so keep the discussion on topic and don't get personal.
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    I wonder what classification Mr Barnett would give to religious art depicting nudity? I think society has well and truly moved on from the forelock-tugging deference to religion represented by fig leaves and hair extensions. I feel so sorry for religious fundamentalists who seem to have let their own gnosticism colour the beautiful messages of their religion's founders with regard to the wonders of creation.
    Last edited by WhoDo; 18-04-2011 at 1:11pm.
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    look at who is the complainant and the reasoning is plain...

    I am a self classifier when it comes to my own photos... I classify them all in the same category: awesome!

    one could say there is a difference between nude art and porn... but is not porn an art unto its self?
    I dont have an answer here...

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    It's clear that cultural prudes such as these won't stop at images of nude minors, but that their longer-term agenda involves banning or censoring ALL nudity in art. How do you feel about the prospect of every fine art or glamour shoot you've ever done making you liable for imprisonment or a fine? How do you feel about the prospect of you needing to pay for, and wait for, classification - and censoring - of your work, before you can have it exhibited?

    The people who clamour for greater censoring of art are of much the same ilk as the church morons who, from the 16th Century, banned the depiction of genitalia from art works. From the mid 16th century, existing depictions were defaced or covered - in the case of statues, this involved removing the genitals with a hammer and chisel, and replacing the missing appendage with a plaster fig leaf. In the case of paintings, the works were painted or printed over, such that works by Renaissance masters were covered with badly rendered slops of paint.

    Those involved are widely, and justly, thought of as intellectual and cultural philistines today. Ditto those involved with China's "glorious" Cultural Revolution, who burned and destroyed thousands of years of pre-Maoist writing, art, and Chinese culture. And again, those responsible for banning D.H. Lawrence's books due to the textual description of love scenes, deemed "obscene". In every case, history remembers those who destroy, ban, or censor culture in the very poorest of lights.

    History therefore suggests that the proponents of censorship and creative subjugation today will be remembered in likewise poor terms, by the generations to come.

    EDIT: some references:
    from http://arthuride.wordpress.com/2010/...nd-genitalia/:

    Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) were especially diligent at defacing and destroying works of art. Marble nudes of classical antiquity had their phalluses whacked off because of Pius IX’s fear that the sight of a penis would arouse passion and lust among those housed in the Vatican (allegedly all males), and demanded that thong-size fig leaves of plaster and marble attached to their gaping wounds.
    Read about erotophobia, and how fear of nudity spreads even more fear of nudity: http://www.pivotalpress.com/the-politics-of-lust

    Though modern society seems enthusiastic about sex, most of us secretly fear our own sexuality and that of other people. This condition (called erotophobia) has deep roots in our culture: the first reference in the Bible to human emotions involves the fear of genitals, in the story of Adam and Eve. Yet few people are aware of the condition or the complex political system that breeds it. This ignorance is unfortunate because erotophobia powerfully affects not only our sexuality but also many other aspects of our life. It even affects the way we vote!
    From: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock...des/means.html - more ways people have dealt with controversial art and artists:

    The list below is a selection of methods that affect how artwork reaches the public, including many discussed in the Culture Shock Web site and in the films:

    1. banning particular books from school libraries and curricula
    2. calling for the removal of certain paintings from public museums
    3. campaigning to have particular types of music banned from public performances
    4. rioting in protest of ballet performances
    5. arresting the publishers of certain books
    6. withdrawing films from public release
    7. canceling funding for proposed exhibitions or artists
    8. dismantling public murals
    9. buying all the copies of certain books and shredding them
    10. holding Congressional hearings on song lyrics
    11. forcing artists to emigrate
    12. burning books
    13. expurgating selected passages from plays
    14. bleeping words from broadcasts
    15. placing fig leaves over the genital area of nude statues
    16. demanding changes in public monuments
    17. electronically altering images
    18. defacing paintings
    19. changing the costumes of performers to hide the body
    20. calling for the death of particular authors
    21. destroying certain works of art and all copies
    22. boycotting all films by certain production companies
    23. imprisoning an artist
    24. killing an artist
    Moronic acts by the culturally bereft.
    Last edited by ElectricImages; 18-04-2011 at 1:52pm.
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    I could write a book on this subject
    Porn is such an over-used & abused word
    Nudity is not porn nor is suggestive or provocative erotic postures.
    Pornography maybe beastality & other un-natural sexual acts.
    Why we degrade the beautiful human form that God gave us I can never understand.
    Older conventional churches from the dark & middle ages have ART depicting nudity & sexuality, in most if not all forms.
    Col

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    By these criteria, the Ancient Greeks, Renaissance artists etc were all perverts. Many years ago I read a saying which impressed me with it's meaning. I'm not sure if I remember it correctly, but " The world is a mirror of your soul " comes close. Maybe some people's actions and attitudes say more about them than the world around them, and they should take a good look at themselves.
    Constructive critique of my photos is welcome and appreciated.


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    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    & other un-natural sexual acts.
    What is an un-natural sex act?

    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    Why we degrade the beautiful human form that God gave us I can never understand.
    I dont know where you got your body , but mine is a result of natural selection and more than likely some un-natural sex acts along the way.
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    The arguments about Creation &/or Evolution is probably more contentious then the arguments about nudity, porn & censorship

    I think this discussion should stay on topic

    ********What is an un-natural sex act?**********
    Is all up to the individual & their conscience & whether they are harming some living organism.
    But some limits to protect our children are very necessary.

    Col

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    Just to add a part of a verse from Madona, herself............

    "Poor is the Man whose Pleasures Depend on the Permission of Another......"

    from the song, Justify My Love, Artist, Madonna.
    Col

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    Is this topic really too hot to handle
    Over 111 lookers & a handful of responders that have made themselves public
    OR is that what porn is, for lookers & not posters ?
    Col
    Last edited by colinbm; 18-04-2011 at 8:37pm.

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    Question is... When is it art, and when it is offensive. The problem is we all have different levels of tolerance. I recently did a shoot of a pregnant girl, all great shots in mine and the clients eyes. But when my wife seen me processing them, she seen one of the girl in a bra and jeans and said I was sick.... What chance have I got of doing any semi nude shots... Bloody none unless I hide in the shed to process them, like the sicko she thinks I am.

    I recently seen the movie "4th of July" with Tom Cruise. I thought the language was overly offensive, but my son could see nothing wrong with it.

    The thing is... Who do we cater for. I just read a joke from a friend he'd sent by email, and states..
    When our kids get old like us. Wrap music will be the golden oldie.And G Strings will be like bombay bloomers.

    The only time I think it's not art, is when they use kids 10 - 16 year old. Thats my tolerance level. Other people may have a different point of view, but thats up to them, I don't condem them. Each to their own IMO
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    My message to Guy Barnett - "keep your nose out of other people's business". I don't believe art should be censored, and I don't believe porn should be either. I think it is reasonable that production of images (be they porn or art) should not break other laws (e.g. depiction of minors) - but assuming it is produced by consenting adults, it's their business.

    To paraphrase the "Nancy Reagan Approach" - just don't look.

    (IMO banning stuff forces it underground. There is less chance to control it, more criminal involvement and more general societal harm.)
    Regards, Rob

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    In my opinion, porn is an image or film where either a sexual act is portrayed or genitalia is in full or even partial view (I'm not talking about breasts here, I mean the whole box and dice). With regard to artistic nude photography, these are images where the genitalia are either covered using another body part or totally obscured from view. There is a distinct separation of the two which Mr Barnett and his moralistic crusade to win the Christian vote are attempting to blur. While I agree that pornography should be strictly censored, I do not agree that art itself, photographic or otherwise, should be censored. Unfortunately, the art censorship debate has not been helped by artists who have deliberately set out to "push the boundaries" such as Andres Serrano and Bill Henson for example. While their work has certainly attracted a lot of attention, both negative and positive, it has also served to inflame the ire of people like Mr Barnett, giving them ammunition for their cause. Art will always be subjective to the taste of the individual viewer, no matter what. People will either like it or not.

    What has to be remembered is that pornography and art must always be viewed within the context of the environment in which it is exhibited. You won't find much opposition to some cheap porno being shown in a grotty cinema somewhere by a bunch of men in raincoats but you'd start a riot if the same porno came to be viewed by a bunch of kids at a primary school and the media found out about it. This also applies to art. If the artwork is of a "challenging" nature that might upset or offend some people, then it should be exhibited in an environment where access can be controlled so that those who might be offended are at least able to be warned that the art might be offensive to their particular sensibilities, giving them the option to "not look" if they wish. However, there will always be the "Art is porn" camp and the "No, it's not porn, it's art" camp. In regard to censorship it just boils down to how much people are willing to have their freedom of expression subverted by the beliefs and ideologies of others. I agree with farmer_rob that banning stuff forces it underground and it also adds a certain amount of "attraction" to people who will want to know why it was banned in the first place.

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    The problem with censoring expression is where is the line drawn, and who decides what is in and what is out? Censoring art is like censoring the Internet. It may be for the best of intentions - the prevention of exploitation of children - but the cost is just as bad. Both have a chilling effect on intellectual, artistic, and cultural expression, creation, and consumption. Both are largely ineffective against the REAL exploitation that happens. For example, there is a booming trade in Australia in sexually exploited immigrants, particularly young girls from Asia, as well as exploitation of other vulnerable young people: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/re...408-1d769.html. Censoring nude images does nothing to actually help people in this country who are truly being exploited.

    Just like an internet filter, an art classification and censorship scheme would be expensive, slow, and largely ineffectual, as well as being culturally and intellectually regressive.

    Related: people recently defacing art:
    http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/04/04/...ional-gallery/ - woman attacks Gauguin painting for nudity, has "radio in her head".
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011...ian-protesters - barbarians who don't understand a photograph, except on the shallowest (no pun intended) level.
    Last edited by ElectricImages; 19-04-2011 at 9:57am.

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    Interesting discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricImages View Post
    The problem with censoring expression is where is the line drawn, and who decides what is in and what is out?
    I'll be crude here, at the most extreme CP means images and movies of an 8yo child being forced to have sex with a dog (as recently told to me by a federal police officer).
    So the 'line' needs to be drawn such that all children are protected because there are filth out there who would use and abuse children.
    Hence my hard stand of the Henson debate i.e. don't use children at all.

    There is a place for artistic merit and the nude form in and of itself is beautiful.
    But we are in a very much imperfect world that has a sicko element to it and there is therefore a need for standards and protection of children;
    and for that matter adults, eg. the effect of hard core porn in Africa and even outback Australia (part of the reason for the intervention in some communities).
    (do some googling)

    Who decides where the 'line' is?
    A: The people appointed by elected Government.
    At least we can have a debate about it. Barnett is putting one part of a multifaceted debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    Interesting discussions.

    I'll be crude here, at the most extreme CP means images and movies of an 8yo child being forced to have sex with a dog (as recently told to me by a federal police officer).
    So the 'line' needs to be drawn such that all children are protected because there are filth out there who would use and abuse children.
    Hence my hard stand of the Henson debate i.e. don't use children at all.
    There is no difference in the lack of subtlety or distinction between a policy that, in an effort to prevent child exploitation, says "use no children" and another that says "use no nudes". Both are broad-brush, unsubtle, and completely ineffective at actually preventing sickos or exploitative works. Do you really think banning Bill Henson will make one iota of difference on criminals creating obscene things in private?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    There is a place for artistic merit and the nude form in and of itself is beautiful.
    But we are in a very much imperfect world that has a sicko element to it and there is therefore a need for standards and protection of children;
    and for that matter adults, eg. the effect of hard core porn in Africa and even outback Australia (part of the reason for the intervention in some communities).
    (do some googling)
    So adults must also be protected too? My goodness, someone censor the Internet, quick! As I said, once you start censoring things to "protect" every possible person, or to prevent every possible offense, you end up censoring everything. This woman: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/04/04/...ional-gallery/ found two painted Tahitian women by Gauguin to be offensive enough to want it destroyed - and indeed, to want to do it herself. The image is, by artistic standards, quite modest. There's racier stuff on THIS FORUM. In the interest of society, perhaps this forum should be filtered out, also, then?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    Who decides where the 'line' is?
    A: The people appointed by elected Government.
    At least we can have a debate about it. Barnett is putting one part of a multifaceted debate.
    If we have to pander to the ultra-sensitive and culturally bereft extremists in our society, using blunt instruments to hit the wrong targets, then we will truly suffer the intellectual consequences. Banning Henson, or censoring nudes, does nothing to actually help those who need it.
    Last edited by ElectricImages; 19-04-2011 at 10:21am.

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    Censorship is a slippery slope, and becomes even more so when extreme religious views influence political decision-making, it becomes even more so. There is supposed to be a separation between the church and politics for a reason.
    I am all for protection of children, but fail to see how draconian regulation of 99.99% innocent artisitic endeavours will achieve this. Extremism in any form is not healthy or desirable, imho.

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    To quote Mark Twain....
    Do you ban steak, because a child can't chew it
    Col

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    Quote Originally Posted by colinbm View Post
    To quote Mark Twain....
    Do you ban steak, because a child can't chew it
    Col
    And to quote Judy Blume:
    "It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship."

    Likewise, art, including photography. Chilled, stifled, and created in fear.

    Or this one from Larry Flynt:
    "If the human body's obscene, complain to the manufacturer, not to me."

    Last edited by ElectricImages; 19-04-2011 at 11:16am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricImages View Post
    And to quote Judy Blume:
    "It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship."

    Likewise, art, including photography. Chilled, stifled, and created in fear.

    Or this one from Larry Flynt:
    "If the human body's obscene, complain to the manufacturer, not to me."

    Yes, this is all just fine.
    But what about all the other living organisms, they don't even wear clothes
    They copulate with no inhibitions what-so-ever & even communicate by smelling others genitals & #### parts !
    When are humans, all, going to wake up & realise we are just a part of the animal kingdom, shock, horror !
    Col

    PS, Oh dear I just got censored by AP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I wrote an*l parts in the complete word & got #### blipped !
    Col
    Last edited by colinbm; 19-04-2011 at 11:29am. Reason: I just got censored, can you believe that !

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