We are strong supporters of free speech. As an art collective, one of the most important things to us are the artists’ rights to their own work. We also encourage our artists to create whatever speaks to them no matter how controversial.
Censorship – The Freedom to Offend
When allowing someone to be creative with no restrictions it becomes easy to unsettle or offend people. In fact, with horror, it should be the aim to do so. Art is defined as being a creation that stirs emotions within the person experiencing it, but there is also a fair amount of people who feel that creative individuals should be censoring themselves.
We do not believe anyone should be silenced or ‘de-platformed’ for their opinions. Everyone has a right to their opinion and to speak it, although that does not give anyone the right to act on those values if they infringe upon the rights of others. Silencing people only turns them into martyrs within their community, and may even make them seem more appealing to some people who are looking to rebel against societal norms. In addition, removing their voice means removing education for the general public to learn about problematic ideations people may have and act upon, and therefore make it harder to protect people from becoming a victim of it.
Another troubling idea regarding de-platforming would be considering the fact that everyone now comes into question and, depending on if those put in charge of the decision see it as problematic, may face persecution for voicing opinions. Some argue that there are clear evils, but the world is not that black and white. There is a fine line we are facing here and it is scary how close we are to crossing into aggressive authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
Separating Art from Artist
We believe in separating the art from the artist: every person is flawed and that is no reason to deny ourselves the beauty they may have created based on their personal values or mistakes they have made. If we were to remove all of the art and literature created by an individual who had some questionable values we would not being reading H.P. Lovecraft, Fydor Dostoyevsky, or Peter Sotos. We would not be listening to Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, or Miles Davis. If someone is directly using the proceeds from their work in order to fund violent acts I could see an argument for not purchasing their pieces, but removing their work in general from the population would be a crime.
Organizations to check out:
American Civil Liberty Union
Devoted to defending the civil liberties of those living within the United States.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Devoted to defending the civil liberties of those living within Canada.