Censorship and the cinema as metaphor
Inside the model a movie without images is projected onto a screen. The movie is a montage of the titles of censored films from around the world. In one corner of the model, towards the back of the building, the censor’s office can be seen through the windows. This room is filled with film canisters and unravelled film and also includes a figure of a censor at work cutting films.
Garaicoa talks of a kind of game or device which he deploys in the making of his work where he takes a local situation which has sparked his interest and relates it to as many places and countries as possible. Taking the local and connecting to a more general global situation, Garaicoa began a process of research, exploring how countries censor their own production.
Censorship and film in Italy
The idea of an ongoing archive
Tanya Barson, Curator
Garaicoa and his studio spent many months researching the issue of censorship. He was particularly interested in films that have problems from the outset in the countries where they are produced. For example, almost all of Pasolini’s films were banned for a period in Italy. Compiling the list of censored films proved to be very difficult, as there is not one source. Instead Garaicoa and members of his studio needed to research film histories in each country.
In his exploration of the notion of censorship, Garaicoa has taken the idea of the cinema as a metaphor for how art is controlled. When he decided to use the titles of films that had been censored at first he thought about using the full title sequences of each of the films. However, he rejected this idea partly for practical reasons, such as problems of copyright clearance, but also because he wanted the movie to be without images; because he had censored the images. Garaicoa felt that the titles had to be plain, using simple text to evoke the form of a direct ‘letter’.
Garaicoa would like this list of films to be ‘a work in progress’ so that the list of titles could be added to. In this way Letter to the Censors can also look to the future in the construction of a history of censored films that could, potentially, be infinitely continued.