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Svetlana Mintcheva on Sat, 7 Dec 2002 15:16:21 +0100 (CET)

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           www.thefileroom.org     [1]http://www.thefileroom.org
     Aristophanes' plays were banned in the 5^th century B.C. because of
     obscenity and anti-war themes; Confucius' writings were incinerated
     around 250 BC after a change of dynasty made them politically
     incorrect; in 1933, a New York court declared a set of pictures of
     Michelangelo's Last Judgment fresco in the Sistine Chapel obscene;
     in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the life of
     Salman Rushdie for the publication of the novel Satanic Verses; in
     1999, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to cut off
     funding to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and evict it from the
     building because the Museum refused to remove one work from an art
     show; in 2001, books from the popular Harry Potter series were
     banned from schools and burned in churchyards in the United States.
     Manifestations of the control of expression are historically and
     culturally specific. Nevertheless, close investigation reveals
     recurring themes and issues.
                       The File Room - an Open Forum
     The File Room, a web-based interactive archive of censorship cases,
     is open to submissions by organizations and individuals locally,
     nationally, and internationally. The project was initiated by
     artist Antoni Muntadas and originally produced by the Randolph
     Street Gallery in Chicago in 1994. It then went on the Internet as
     an open submissions archive. In 2002, the National Coalition
     Against Censorship[2]* re-programmed and updated the archive and is
     currently maintaining it. The File Room already contains
     information on hundreds of incidents dating from the 5^th century
     BC to the present. More cases from around the world are added every
                  Our Goals: Documentation and Resistance
     The File Room locates acts of censorship in relation to social
     settings, political movements, religious beliefs, and economic
     conditions. The wider understanding of censorship adopted by The
     File Room allows it to record instances of censorship through
     market mechanisms, the censorship of private galleries or that of
     schools and colleges, institutional self-censorship, as well as
     suppression of work by limiting its distribution or refusing it
     The File Room is not only a database or a tool for facilitating
     critical discourse on the subject of censorship; it is also a tool
     of resistance, i.e. a tactical medium. It makes public those
     actions of governmental and private institutions (as well as
     individuals), which are usually intended to remain out of sight. To
     resist the suppression of symbolic speech, we have to acknowledge
     how pervasive and interconnected censorship incidents are by
     recording the many cases of deletion, exclusion, or suppression of
     To submit a case or search the archive, go to www.thefileroom.org
    For more information contact Svetlana Mintcheva at 212-807-6222 ext.
                          23/ [3]Svetlana {AT} ncac.org
   [4]* The National Coalition Against Censorship (www.ncac.org), founded
   in 1974, is an alliance of 50 U.S. non-profit organizations, including
   literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and
   civil liberties groups. United by a conviction that freedom of
   thought, inquiry, and expression must be defended, NCAC works to
   educate our own members and the public at large about the dangers of
   censorship and how to oppose them.


   1. http://www.thefileroom.org/
   2. mhtml:mid://00000199/#_edn1
   3. mailto:Svetlana {AT} ncac.org
   4. mhtml:mid://00000199/#_ednref1

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