Do you remember your last time you told a secret? Do you remember the desire to confide, the feelig of freedom it gave you?
The internet has multiplied these kinds of information exchanges. Coded images, smileys, emails encrypted in Rot13. An incessant flow of facts, serious and futile, public and private. The Secrets site is intended to create a virtual space where anyone can let themselves go, with discretion.
It's a work of collaboration, showing in an slideshow, a state of the world. Its strength comes from the fact that each secret can link to another, can find an echo in the "viewer." The secrets are presented anonymously, no contact is made with the author of the secret. The emails that are sent in - containing the secrets - are rigorously selected: No
secret can incite hatred or settle scores. Other people's secrets thus become in some way ours too, a virtual appropriation of a confidence. Love, friendship, work are the principle themes of the flood. The site becomes the
revelation of others.
The secrets website - constantly evolving - was bought by Fonds Regional D'Art Contemporain Languedoc-Roussillon in 1998. Because online art sells so poorly, it was important that a formal entity was encouraging this kind of artistic exploration. The secrets website became part of a collection of contemporary art, thus itself becoming a recognised work of art. ????
Sadly, in December 2001, the Region of Languedoc-Rousillon decided suddenly to close the website, almost four years into its existence. It was no longer a work of art, apparently, but an insult to "good morality." This decision
was made without consulting the artist, and the unjust and arbritary decision has destroyed the online work. Of course, a numerical work can duplicate itself to infinity. But the website "I am your friend - tell me your secrets" was a work-in-progress, adding to itself every day. It was updated regularly with new secrets, evolving along with the internet's own
The first version of the site - its originator in some respects - has now disappeared, with both the Region nor the web server unable to explain where it is. A website doesn't exist unless it's on the web, or if the facts which are its raison d'etre are not online. This censure seems irrevocable. How can it be discussed if the website no longer exists? It seems the work has been condemned with no chance for mitigation.
When a server hosts your website, it gives you access codes, just like an artist has keys to his studio. The existence of the secrets website also has this important aspect - forbidden from having access to your own creation!
Forbidden to make it exist. There's nothing more frustrating and sad than being banned from your own work. From one day to the next, you are kicked out, and never told why.
Politics is meddling in art. It's good to know that Languedoc-Roussillon's contemporary art collections are rich. It was the work of my friend Ami Barak to build up this collection, to create something reflecting our time.
Ami Barak has just been fired by the Region. The internet has become a tool of expression, just like acrylic paint or video.
Censorship in art has always existed, but usually in totalitarian states.
How, today, can a work of art be "silenced." Particularly when it's the voice of the people? How is a political decision more compelling than an artistic one?
The internet can be scary. The events of 11 September have begun to form it. As a tool of expression, the network is now targeted by censors and moral extremists. The secrets website no longer exists. But it should be housed again on its old server, Fnac, which hosted it since 1998. This work only exists if it is seen, if the facts that make it are seen on an internet
it's time to consider, to be concerned that this abuse of expression doesn't happen again. Creators should be protected by valid contracts. Without a minimum of respect for creative expression, online creativity can't proceed.
Would you let someone take away your pots of paints because what you're doing "isn't suitable"?
Merci à Rose pour la traduction.