Toronto: Riverbank Press, Toronto Photographers Workshop

Suggestive Poses excels in the highly personal and pointedly political approach it takes on censorship. There are theoretical and subjective texts, artists pages and fact sheets. The latter, inserted at appropriate places, focus on the inherent complexity involved in this subject, such as “Children & art,” “Community Standards,” “Homophobia,” “Hate,” “Accountability,” and “Empowerment.” One question consistently arises – What does the legal regulation of morality mean for culture and society at large? The responses offered are diverse. Robin Metcalfe combines his experience as a gay male writer with an essay on Eli Langer and the child pornography case. Richard Fung demonstrates the difficulty of position and the concept of strange bedfellows in his discussion on anti-racist and anti-censorship movements. Su Ditta writes about the risks of curating shows in public spaces.

The point most often made is that something called community standards, fearing social instability, censors the marginalized and deviant in our society. The result is chilling: censorship takes expression out of circulation, it takes away the right to create; territories abounding with possibility cannot be explored because they have been branded bad and marked out of bounds by the state. This results in effectively maintaining dark corners that are “not gone but patrolled”; murky areas remain so instead of being brought into a discursive realm. We cannot face our experiences and desires but are instead taught only fear and hate. Here artists and critics rally together to suggest that anti-censorship will bring about a richer and more joyous cultural freedom rather than threaten a system that neither you nor I chose. C. G.

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