TTC won't use subway word-art installation over fear of hate speech
As criticism mounts, the transit provider says that a $500,000 artwork it approved and paid for – one which allows the public to type short messages for display in a new station – cannot be made operational because of fear of hate speech and profanity.
It's a decision that raises questions about free speech and public space and whether the best way to handle offensive rhetoric is to block it or to challenge it.
The monster is called "LightSpell" and it certainly cast a spell over the Transit big guys -- the ones in charge of the graft money.
Oh, c'mon. Surely they thought of how it might be used when they forked over $500 large. So why did they? What's the story behind that, eh? Whoever promoted these guys to their positions of "authority" is either sadly or willfully ignorant of the Peter Principle.
Torontonians could get their money back simply by citing false advertising.
Why? Because it's NotArt -- my new term for "installation" rip-offs manufactured by corporations who artfully bilk city planners out of massive amounts of tax dollars for over-priced curiosities masquerading as "art". See earlier example of Canadian NotArt on YYC
Let's face it: "Lightspell" is a huge expensive toy that the citizens who paid for it in their taxes are now not even being allowed to use. But make it smaller and what have you got? A display screen and a keyboard. Why not just go home and type all the dirty, offensive words you like and post them on Facebook - same thing really.
At least Oldenburg's life-sized depiction of a 3-way plug was meant to have some educational value. It makes people actually see and become aware of something they ordinarily wouldn't even notice. It doesn't harm anyone at all, and even causes some people to ponder deeper issues, such as our own perceptions of space and reality. It wasn't fashioned large just to be large, nor merely to entertain.
I guess I just don't understand people who get excited about the largest hamburger in the world, or who can choke down the most boiled eggs in a contest. These things don't increase awareness at all.
But if there really is a serious principle involved, then I suggest "The People" stage a massive protest to either be able to use the overgrown typing toy or get a refund. And if they do get to use the dang thing (at least until some other weird distraction from reality comes along), then they ought to be ready to volunteer their services for a 24-hour watch, so that as soon as somebody types in a bad word, somebody else can immediately step up and type in a good one.
Of course, they'd also need an additional 24-hour volunteer contingent of tough guys to break up the resulting fist fights -- sort of like a bulked-up Neighbourhood Watch.
Think of all the fun phone junkies would have recording the fights and posting them on YouTube. It'd be like Black Friday (YouTube) on Speed.
OR -- and this could be a way of recouping expenses while having municipal control over the situation -- the people who are gullible enough to badly want input to the NotArt could pay a fee for a licence, sign an affidavit swearing not to use offensive words, and then receive a unique password that would identify them in the event they slip up -- triggering a report to the NotArt cops who would then track them down and make them pay a fine.
Now THAT'S technology at it finest!
And THIS is art:
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