What an excellent theme for a competition! I had neglected my ello emails and only discovered this a week ago, excited by the possibilities I leapt into action!
China came to mind, their ‘Great Firewall Of China’ is infamous, so I chose to theme my work around the effect of digital based censorship. I put the call out for a Chinese model and got in contact with Carmen, she was available over the weekend so we organised a shoot for the Saturday. It was meant to be, as a media student at university she is studying censorship in China and told me stories of her time there and the things she had witness first hand. I’m an Australian citizen living in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, so it’s unfathomable to conceive existing without the freedoms I take for granted. It was an enlightening exchange, one of those moments which really causes you to pause all thought and appreciate the chance fortune of your existence.
The artwork series is titled, 'Forbidden Possibilities' and focuses upon three aspects of mainland China censorship.
The first, a restriction in freedom of speech, indicated via the closeup portrait, displaying her jaw and lips beginning to digitally diminish. This decay of form is consistent across her entire body and throughout each of the works in the series. It is indicative of ‘losing the self’, a result of one’s freedoms being curtailed in such a destructive manner.
The second piece focuses on her hands, bound to represent a restriction in creative expression. As an artist, this resonated with me personally so I chose to emphasise the work with a powerful red background.
The final artwork of the series speaks to the blanket ban of adult media. A rand band, ‘restricted’ line strikes across the work to communicate this denial of sensuality.
For each of these works I chose the colour palette and styled the makeup with red and highlights of gold, symbolic of the Chinese flag.
Thank you for your time and thank you to ello for facilitating this creative opportunity.
— Jake Stollery
#art #technology #creativefreedom