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CENSORSHIP IN VENICE
The Venice Biennial is a window to express to the world a point of view with respect to what occurs in Venezuela, my country of origin. The work of an artist should speak for itself, so I resist political gaming. I must say though, that in Venice, Venezuela has the right to show the rest of the planet what goes on here.
Art is a very powerful living language. To be isolated and to cluster is precisely what we cannot voluntarily do. That is why I assumed my presence in the 50th Venice Biennale as a way not to silence either creation or reality. The world does not stop at the frontiers, and that also in part describes my work. Of course, my decision to participate had an implied risk: that my work appeared inappropriate for certain viewers.
The 50th Venice Biennale is precisely about “Dreams and Conflicts: The dictatorship of the viewer”. Ironically, the official cultural spectators of the country have effectively censored the piece “CityRooms”, to inhibit its participation and have withdrawn the official Venezuelan participation, selected by a jury after a national competition to represent Venezuela in Venice. The funds to attend have already been raised privately.
Fortunately, the nature of this work is beyond censorship. This Biennale is about the truth of the countries multiplied by a thousand forms. There, the world and its experiences will be confronted. It would be naïve and useless to be denied such a forum. The art from Venezuela cannot help being a reflection of what it lives. City Rooms, the work I’ve created for Venice, is precisely that: my social-political experiences during the last year, when society became a shanty house and life a rallying cry. My purpose in Venice is to show what we have become, from a vanguard position in the digital arts, the original internet art piece. Art is above censorship, and City Rooms is already being seen in Venice and throughout the world through its site www.pedromorales.com (also www.cityrooms.netwww.orinokia.com).
In 1989, when the concept of information technology accessible to everyone, and in every human scenario was something close to utopia, I let my brushes go, and started to investigate the pertinence of the computer in the visual arts´ space. Never, since then, have I stopped working. And the result is an honest work, full of integrity, profoundly Venezuelan and universal at the same time, a product of tireless work and research, of which I am very proud. Nothing is more absurd than censoring the arts.
We are showing in Venice that it is with constant work that difficulties are overcome. We have to go to Venice to show that we are not an easy answer, much less linear or deterministic. We are in Venice to demonstrate that Venezuela is a lot more than our sorrow, more than a quick solution to get things done. To innovate is something not expected from countries in crisis, submerged as we are in rattles and whining. It so happens that we can create that which innovates, and in doing so we are revealing a form of reality, which should not be kept hidden. Otherwise, we’ll be our own captives
In Venice the world will look at itself through the arts. And I don´t pretend to silence the sad reality of Venezuela, rather the contrary. Even in total darkness one cannot look only inwards. Venice has reasons to hear our shouting. Our tragedy has to have an echo. More so through an art piece made with the best of the world they want to isolate us from: the information and communication vanguard. Globalization, simultaneously miracle and curse, allows that from a country in ruins, sunk in a political and cultural abyss, this piece of work may arise, created with a tool that is an emblem of the developed XXI century: the internet. And it can be this face the one opening a breach in this siege made up of anger, with which Venezuela can advance in its urge to show itself to the world as a place of modern people that do not surrender in adversity, nor do we believe in a discourse based on failure. To shut up and surrender is the antithesis of art.
Venezuela is a country of youngsters, who have grown up with the technological vanguard at the tip of their hands. Venezuelan youth contemplate the world with technology as a handle bar. It is to them whom Venezuela overwhelmingly belongs. They are the light that supports the country in this hour. City Rooms has been created primarily for young people, the ones who can travel across it in complete openness, without fear of transgression or censorship, the ones who live in the immensity of communication without borders, the ones accepting that art is creation and freedom. The role of art is neither frivolous nor accommodating. The contents of a work of art cannot be negotiated to match the seasonal drapes. That is why City Rooms is already in Venice, accredited by the verdict from the selection process by contest. There it will be known how, through the Internet, Venezuela can escape this historical trap. That is what I am in Venice for. Condemn censorship in Venice.
Copyright ©2003 PEDRO MORALES