Art and Conflict / On Censorship and Self-Censorship

Artist, curator, and writer Sofia Bempeza will discuss censorship and the interdependence of “Hegemony” and “Agonism” according to thinkers such as Hannah Arendt and Chantal Mouffe. Mouffe is especially aligned with Agonism, a political theory that emphasizes the positive aspects of political conflict. By analyzing Exterritory’s “Image Blockade” and other examples, Bempeza will look at Agonism in the public sphere and how art practices contribute in challenging relationships of institutional power.

Journalist and editor Noam Sheizaf will discuss how exterritory is created in Israeli media narratives, mostly through censorship and self-censorship. Sheizaf will focus on the Mavi Marmara incident, in which the IDF confiscated all photographic material and used it to create its own narrative of the event, in contrast to the invisibility of Israel’s nuclear power, which is absent from virtually all media and consequently from Israel’s national historical and popular metanarratives.

Chen Tamir will give a brief historical survey of the “Culture Wars” in the United States during the early 1990s and their roots in the liberal era of the 1960s. The presentation will focus on the conservative backlash in the federal government against contemporary art and the rise of manipulating funding as a means of censorship in the United States.

Presentations will be followed by a discussion moderated by CCA Director and Chief Curator Sergio Edelsztein.

About the Speakers: Sofia Bempeza is an artist and writer based in Zurich. She studied fine arts in Athens and Berlin and is currently pursuing a PhD at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. She is a faculty member at the Zurich University of the Arts and a board member of Shedhalle Zurich.

Noam Sheizaf is a Tel Aviv based journalist. He has worked for the Israeli publications Maariv, Ha-ir, and Ynet. His work has been published in Haaretz, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, the Daily Beast, and more. Sheizaf is the founder of the online publication +972 Magazine.

Chen Tamir is Curator at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv and Curatorial Associate at Artis.

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