photo: Majdi Laktinah. 

Censorship in digital spaces is pushing against a zeitgeist of sexual diversity and sex positivity. It establishes a dangerous moral code, especially among younger users. iHeartBerlin’s latest exhibition #UncensoredBerlin centers those representations of the human body that are affected by digital censorship and offers the participating artists a unique platform to express themselves freely.

“Your post has been removed as it doesn’t follow our community guidelines.” – For many users of social media platforms, but especially for many artists, this phrase has become a familiar foe. What kind of community restricts your right for self-expression?

photo: Spyros Rennt

In 2018, Instagram alone counts over one million worldwide users. The online platform claims to be “an authentic and safe place for inspiration and self-expression.” Creating a communal policy for sexual representation that a global audience can identify with does not only seem ambitious but completely absurd.

“Instagram is a conservative platform. You couldn’t show genitalia. Now, you can’t even show pubes, but you have to play by the rules,” Berlin-based photographer Spyros Rennt tells iHeartBerlin, who is also part of the #UncensoredBerlin exhibition, “I made my name on Instagram but it’s a fine line. My photos have been taken down many times. You have to be careful. Usually, it’s the accounts of queer photographers that are taken down, and that creates a feeling of homophobia and oppression.”

photo: Mischa Badasyan

Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Especially for young users, it represents one of the few ways to socialize and develop their own identity. What happens to a new generation of media users who grow up surrounded by this ‘community’ where even a nipple is reprehensible, a penis shameful, and sex in any form must be kept a secret?

“Conservatives might say: ‘If we don’t censor sex, children might be exposed to things like hardcore porn which is harmful’,” says Valentin Braun, a dancer, erotic performer and muse to many of#UncensoredBerlin’s artists, “I agree, children shouldn’t be exposed to hardcore porn, but censorship isn’t the way to prevent that from happening. Also, censorship is a major reason why things like hardcore porn, fetishes, and kinks are deemed as morally wrong in the first place. It is a misconception that children need to be protected from sexuality. Children need to be protected from deteriorated sexuality that is caused by censorship.”

photo: Florian Hetz

#UncensoredBerlin wants to probe these misconceptions visually. What is wrong or right? Is there a line or is it blurred? Are you looking at pure vanity and body cult, a tool for self-portrayal or an act of activism? The audience can decide for themselves by experiencing the exhibited uncensored photography and video work.

In media partnership with Pornceptual, Missy Magazine, and Daddy Magazine, iHeartBerlin aims to create a unique analog experience – uncensored and large-scale – representing art that has been removed from its digital space, in collaboration with a variety of Berlin-based artists and their muses, the “Sexfluencers“, who stand up for sexual liberation and oppression with all their physical power.

photo: Ana Hell

Confirmed artists include Aja Jane, Ana Hell, Andrea Galad, Bob Jones, Camilla Storgaard, Chris Phillips (presented by Pornceptual), Cochon de Cauchemar, Ema Discordant, Eylül Aslan, Florian Hetz, Giselle Galvao, Joanna Legid, Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert, Majdi Laktinah, Manuel Moncayo, Michelle Gutiérrez Fernández, Mischa Badasyan, Nathalie Dreier, Noel Alejandro, Poppy Sanchez, Rafael Medina, Sam Morris, Spyros Rennt, Tea Marta (presented by Daddy Magazine), Victor Luque, Yuliang Liu.

The exhibition is kindly supported by artist supply and frame expert Boesner.

The exhibition will take place from the 7th to 10th 11th of December Friday to Monday from 12:00h to 20:00h and Tuesday from 12-18h at Blogfabrik, Oranienstr. 185 (Aufgang 5), 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg.

photo: Manuel Moncayo

 

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