Censorship Printer

This is a rather literal visualization of how censorship happened, but I believe it could be a powerful narrative in terms of the violent act of “cutting out,” the sound of paper being torn apart. It mimics how censorship is happening in China, where you don’t know exactly which was the sensitive word.


I feed the machine a diary written by a toddler. The translated version goes:

My mom bought a bag of oranges,

It has a peel like a yellow trench coat,

I roll it around,

It’s like a happy child rolling on the grass,

I tie it with a pink bow tie,

So that I can give it to my grandmother as a gift.

Seems totally harmful right? But the poem still get torn apart. It’s the pink bow tie that triggered the cutting.  You see, in Chinese, the liter

al translation is “a pink colored bow tie,” and color bow tie is a banned word for some unknown reason. Imagining a kid actually trying to post a micro blog about the poem she wrote and was told the content she post is inappropriate. I also created a move-and-blur mechanism, where a nude art is will become blurry whenever a knife gets close by.  It imitate how people learn to get around with censorship by denying facts about themselves such as their sexuality and identity. I also took the liberty to imagine where would the information and people live after they were killed off on the internet. For example, where do the LGBTI group stands when government shut down their discussion group and even banned the use of rainbow emoji in usernames on most of the social media. I realized that censorship is breeding this landscape, and rendering it as invisible at the same time.