Facebook censors art and femininity. In fact, the official Facebook page of the Florence Biennale. International exhibition of contemporary art and design, which will be held in Florence from 23 to 31 October, is “not available” since the beginning of August.
The suspension by Facebook was an immediate consequence of the scheduling of some posts regarding the finalists of the International Open Call Competition organized by Florence Biennale in collaboration with Art Market Magazine and Lens Magazine, and focused on the theme of femininity, which identifies the XIII edition of the Florentine kermesse: “Eternal Feminine | Eternal Change. Concepts of Femininity in Contemporary Art and Design”.
In particular, censorship hit the official page of the Florence Biennale immediately after the programming of the posts on the works of Italian artist Teresa Letizia Bontà and Spanish artist Gloria Marco Munuera, considered to be not in line with Facebook standards, just because they depict uncovered breasts.
In this regard, artist Gloria Marco Munuera, who already won the “Lorenzo il Magnifico” Award for Photography (4th place) at the XII Florence Biennale (in 2019), states: «I am a new mother artist who created a work of art inspired by the connection between the cry of her newborn baby and the outflow of milk that the breast produces in response to the baby’s call. I find it offensive that the Facebook platform has misunderstood the image of my work The Song of the Milky Way, denying me the opportunity to disseminate the work with which I am participating in the Florence Biennale, whose theme for this edition is precisely femininity. Since the times of Ancient Greece, breastfeeding has been a source of inspiration for many artists, even marking the name of our galaxy through the myth of Hera. And the representations did not stop with the classical era, as it has been a constant subject throughout the centuries. We can refer to masterpieces such as Tintoretto’s and Rubens’ The Origin of the Milky Way to see a breast from which milk comes out to nourish. Only a month ago, however, the controversy surrounding the poster for Almodóvar’s latest film – Madres Paralelas – which opened the last Venice Film Festival, depicted a mother’s breast from which a drop of milk was flowing. Again, the image was obscured on the main social networks, causing a stir in the international press. However, their adventure ended with Facebook and Instagram retracing their steps and apologising to the artist who took the image and to the Spanish filmmaker’s production company. I wish that female artistic expression and breastfeeding were in no way censored in today’s social media age».
Still in relation to the poster of Almodóvar’s film, it is worth remembering that the “incriminated” work by Gloria Marco Munuera was already published on the official website of the Florence Biennale, in the section dedicated to the winners and finalists of the Open Call, last June.
This censorship, result of Facebook’s algorithms, which have unfortunately replaced human controls, is severely damaging the exhibition – one of the few in Italy to be saved from the Covid effect – which was also promoting the works of the approximately 400 participating artists from all continents through this social network.
Moreover, it is worrying that, despite the fact that Florence Biennale has repeatedly requested Facebook’s control and human intervention, those in charge of the social network continue to stand aside and display standardised system messages, heedless of the damage they are doing to an international cultural event and to all the artists involved.
Florence Biennale Media Office