In the 1980s, the Ontario Board of Censors began to subject media artists’ work to the same cuts, bans, and warning labels as commercial film. This innovative exploration of how art and law intersected in the ensuing censor wars turns a spotlight on the powerful role that artists can play in the administration of culture. When artists and their anti-censorship allies mounted grassroots protests and entered courts of law, they impacted how the province interpreted freedom of expression. The language of the law in turn shaped the way artists conceived of their own practices.
Taryn Sirove is an art historian and independent curator based in Toronto. Her research focuses on contemporary art in Canada, particularly new media work and policy frameworks for the regulation of media art.