Last Friday, I was on vacation. I either had to take a day, or lose a day of paid time off, so I put an out of office notice on my office email, and steadfastly refused to work for the day. (If there was an emergency, by colleagues knew how to reach me). If the weather had been nice, I was going to take the subway into town, and go walk around the Tidal Basin, it is cherry blossom season. But it was 58 degrees and raining on and off. I thought about laying in bed watching Youtube or blogging all day, but decided what I really needed was a day of diversion. I took the train into the city and went to three of the Smithsonian art museums.
Oh my, I needed that. Art feeds my mind, gets me to thinking, diverts me from the day to day grind.
The Hirshorn had a show of photographs from China. Digital photography has empowered creators in China. Film photography, especially color photography almost always involved someone else processing the film and printing the images. And those someone's are always watching for things that are illegal. With digital the processor is out of the equation, there is still the issue in a place like China, North Korea, or Russia, of getting the image out of the country, without it being traced back to the creator. Hint, email is easily scanned, postings on the internet are easily traced. But there are ways, especially from countries that make much of the worlds digital storage media. China has been known to scan the digital media of foreigners when they leave the country. The last time I checked, you had to declare all recording devices, cameras, and digital media when you entered the country, and account for it all when you left. Add that to the list of reasons I will probably never visit there.
Thank to digital, images that tell stories of oppression by the government, or opposition to the government, are being seen by the world. Images that would result in the creator being punished or "re-educated" if government officials could tell for certain who created them. Some day the world will figure out that you can't control what people think, you can control what they see or say, but not their thoughts.
I will leave it to others to draw the connection between the fear of censorship and the current political climate in many US States. Scary stuff that leaves me moody.
Very scary stuff in the US right now. Remember how people loved to say “It's a free country!”ReplyDelete
Florida still says that . . . shudderDelete
Interesting reflections. I am surprised that you visited three art museums. To me that would have been far too much to absorb in one day. I would be reeling and suffering from a condition known as V.I. (Visual Overload).ReplyDelete
I think I hold a world record for the fastest tour of several museumsDelete
You can barely control what people do, so thoughts are next to impossible.ReplyDelete
More importantly, how lovely to live so close to the Smithsonian that you can pop in on a whim.
I need to remember to see more of what is here, more often.Delete
Thoughtful post. Glad you enjoyed your day off!ReplyDelete
I need to do that more oftenDelete
That exhibit sounds fascinating. I've been pretty vocal about the stupidity of our current rush to ban books and other things.ReplyDelete
My hometown newspaper reported on an overflowing library meeting angry about a book, it made me want to order 10 copies and send them to every library in the area.Delete