Archive for the ‘Censored’ Category

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

From TIME Magazine:

Since 1982, the American Library Association has sponsored Banned Books Week to pay tribute to free speech and open libraries. The tradition began as a nod to how far society has come since 1557, when Pope Paul IV first established The Index of Prohibited Books to protect Catholics from controversial ideas. Pope Paul VI would abolish it 409 years later, although attempts at censorship still remain.

Here are some of the most challenged books of all time.

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Art by L. Gainer

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

[Video censored on April 3.]

Fig Leaf

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Michelangelo’s wall fresco The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel of Vatican City was commissioned 30 years after he completed the ceiling of the same building. However, the prevailing attitudes of the time and the artistic movement of the Renaissance did not always line up, as is the case in The Last Judgment.

The artist was accused of immorality and obscenity, having depicted naked figures inside this most important church. So a censorship campaign, known as the Fig-Leaf Campaign was organized to remove the frescoes. After Michelangelo’s death, the nudity was censored with robes and fig leaves painted onto the work by one of his own students, Daniele da Volterra. History remembers da Volterra by the derogatory nickname “Il Braghettone,” which translates “the breeches-painter.”

Portion of the altered fresco:

Similar covers have been applied to paintings and sculptures in many cases since, causing debates between art purists and advocates for modern applications of decency.

Today, the term “fig leaf” is used to mean a cover for anything that might be considered unsavory or shameful, with the implication that the censor is only a token gesture where the truth is obvious.

Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment
Fig Leaf

Photoshop and Auto-Tune

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Welcome censorship to the 21st Century.

For decades, we have all seen manipulated and doctored photos whether we know it or not. And recently, software like Photoshop has made the revision of photographs and images easier and more difficult to detect. Harmless or malicious, they can alter our perception.

See many examples of historical photo revisions at this site.

Now Auto-Tune, the computer correction of musical notes and melodies. For further description, here is an excerpt from an article in The New Yorker:

Auto-Tune locates the pitch of a recorded vocal, and moves that recorded information to the nearest “correct” note in a scale.  Unnaturally rapid corrections eliminate portamento, the musical term for the slide between two pitches.  Portamento is a natural aspect of speaking and singing, central to making people sound like people.  Auto-Tune can turn the lolling curves of the human voice into a zigzag of right-angled steps.

So, censored are the flaws in talent found in some modern music.  Is exceptional musicianship now less valuable?  Are computer wizards the new musical virtuosos?  Though true ability will not be taken from those who have it, the illusion of its possession is more available.  This censorship of musical deficiency muddies the water between art and technology.

In 1941, FDR gave a State of the Union address commonly referred to as the Four Freedoms Speech.  In it, he discussed his desire for a worldwide freedom of expression.  Offered here is the ending clip of the original speech, Auto-Tuned.  Enjoy.

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If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Redacted book cover project for dystopian novels by Colin Ford

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

In January 2009, the US Vice President’s house once again became viewable on popular map and satellite image websites.  Previously, VP Cheney made sure his residence looked like this:

Now it again looks like this:

Article here.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Censorship doesn’t always have to be black bars, just whatever is placed to interrupt the vision of reality.

Art by Gerhard Richter

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Monday, January 18th, 2010


Art by K. Hoshine

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Happy Holidays.


Art by Senji Adams

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Art 21

Collage by Mary Virginia Carmack

Friday, November 27th, 2009





J. Zwick, from Anonymous Animal series

Friday, November 13th, 2009


Astronomer F.A. Oom’s drawing of the total solar eclipse, 1860.

China Eclipse

Chinese total eclipse, 2008.

Friday, November 6th, 2009


Wednesday, November 4th, 2009