Artists are more vulnerable than ever: an interview with Salman Rushdie
At a recent event at the Public Theater in New York, author Salman Rushdie recalled that when he became the target of an edict in Iran, which called for him to be killed, he approached the Danish government for support. He was told that Denmark feared placing too much pressure on the government of Iran because Denmark didn’t want to jeopardize its large feta cheese exports. In this instance, human rights lost out to feta cheese. This is one small example of the influence of international trade upon free expression.
I just returned from a fascinating conference in Washington, DC that explored the interplay between International Trade and Internet Freedom. Entitled “Can Trade Policies and Agreements Advance Internet Freedom?”, the conference featured speakers from civil society, academia, corporations, and governments at a lovely building at the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University.
PEN entered this exciting conversation after we approved our PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom at the PEN International Congress in Korea in September. The Declaration is a concise statement of PEN’s position on free expression in the digital age, as our caseload of imprisoned and threatened writers continues to grow to include those who have tweeted, blogged, or even accessed an article online.
While it may seem unusual for an organization with a 90-year history of promoting literature to sit arm-to-arm with international traders, the size and scope of both multinational corporations and trade agreements can have an enormous impact upon free expression. Not only does content move across borders on the internet, but so too do technologies that can filter and censor information, or reveal the identity of authors and human rights activists.
On the heels of Salman Rushdie’s appreciation of the role of storytelling in video games at PEN World Voices, here is an awesome new contest from some great NGOs.
“Liberated Pixel Cup is a two-part competition: make a bunch of awesome free culture licensed artwork, and program a bunch of free software games that use it. Hopefully many cool projects can come out of this… but that will only happen if people like you get involved!
…We think Liberated Pixel Cup is a great opportunity for the commons in many ways! Right now it’s hard to find free culture content to bootstrap games that match a consistent style and hard for artists to collaborate on such. We’re also very interested in areas where free software and free culture directly intersect, which we don’t always see enough of (and which sometimes can even get a bit complex, so it’s good to have opportunities to think about them when we can), and games are a great example of this overlap. We hope you’ll participate!”
A wonderful post in the NY Times on the close of the PEN World Voices festival.
“The PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature ended Sunday night on a traditional note, with a lecture by the Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie, the target of an ayatollah’s fatwa in 1989, about the freedom to write. In recent years the festival has experimented with offerings that blur the distinction between literature and other forms of art or entertainment, and this year was no exception: the 37 scheduled events included one on Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum in which three writers recited texts over a live musical performance by the Kronos Quartet and another on Saturday night that had five authors giving a thematic reading called “Messiah in Brooklyn” as they stood amid an installation at a gallery called the Invisible Dog Art Center.”
(via penlive)Source: penamerican