WASHINGTON - If I cant tell the truth, I will keep my mouth shut for a month, thats 720 hours.
Meet Beijing-based Chinese performance artist Brother Nut. Born in Shenzhen in 1981, hes internationally known only by his pseudonym.
From 4 p.m. June 1, until 4 p.m. July 1, he barely opened his mouth. Thats part of his project Shut Up for 30 Days, which is designed to spotlight Chinas shrinking space for freedom of speech, particularly regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
He sealed his lips in different ways, using metal clamps, gloves and a surgical face mask inscribed with shut up. He also wore packing tape marked with the characters Error 404, in reference to Chinas Great Internet Firewall.
During a telephone interview with VOA from Beijing, he said there were a few times when he slipped up and uttered a comment. On those rare occasions, he said he slapped himself 16 times and ate only white rice for all three meals after that.
Self-punishment, you know, he said, just like if the authority asks you to shut up and you fail to do so, you will be punished.
He named himself Brother Nut 10 years ago when he began his performance arts.
Nut, in English, it means someone whos weird and hard to deal with, the 39-year-old told VOA. I think it represents my attitude perfectly.
Living up to that name, he has done quite a few crazy and weird things over the past 10 years.
In 2015, he launched Project Dust, in which he created a brick made entirely from dust he vacuumed out of the heavily polluted Beijing city air over 100 days. The project highlighted Beijings air pollution problems at a time when China sought to recast itself as an environmentally aware nation.
In 2018, he made headlines with project Nongfu Spring Market, in which he filled 9,000 water bottles with cloudy and contaminated water from a village in Shaanxi, in northwestern China, and exhibited them in Beijings art district, 798 Art Zone, to showcase the countrys water problems.
In 2019, he collected 400 dolls from the children of migrant workers in Shenzhen in southeastern China, and he used an excavator to throw all the dolls into the air, advocating for the kids who lost the opportunity to get an education because of land seizures back home.
Brother Nut says that in a country like China, art is a symbol of resistance.
In the past two months, he has launched several projects regarding freedom of speech.
In addition to Shut Up for 30 Days, he has set up the truth award to salute journalists who dare to speak out during the countrys battle with COVID-19.
Brother Nut raised just short of $3,000 from 73 netizens, and he gave the award and money to Gong Jingqi, a journalist from Chinas People Magazine. She wrote a bombshell feature story on whistleblower doctor Ai Fen, the director of the emergency department at Wuhan Central Hospital, one of the hospitals most directly affected by COVID-19. The original piece was quickly deleted from Chinas tightly controlled social media, yet its copy was widely circulated online.
His project Error 404 invited netizens to list sensitive words banned on Chinas internet. More than 100 netizens participated, listing roughly 1,000 words as the most sensitive words in 2020. These included National Security Law, Soviet Union has died and raise your hand if you disagree.
Brother Nut said people are so used to Error 404 they feel indifferent when they see the words. These banned phrases are the epitaph of our time, he told VOA.
From air pollution, water pollution and migrant workers, to freedom of speech, he said hes inching closer to the dangerous red line.
But this red line can move, you know. Maybe instead of me moving closer to the red line, it is the red line drawing closer to everybody, he shrugged.
He was taken away by Chinas secret police for tea drinking, which is an unofficial way of interrogating and intimidating anyone who dares to voice different opinions. The first thing they told me were artists are garbage. I was pretty shocked, he said.
Last year, he was detained for 10 days for a project he undertook on financial fraud.
After his release from prison, Brother Nut continued his performance art. Im on this land, so Im focusing on the things happening here, he said.
Chinas shrinking creative space has made it hard for artists, but Brother Nut said he wants to do something to create change.
We have to believe theres a future for us.
See the original post here:
- Facebook and Google accused of complicity in Vietnam censorship - Financial Times - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship or conspiracy theory? Trump supporters say Facebook and Twitter censor them but conservatives still rule social media - USA TODAY - November 30th, 2020
- In India, a Clash of Digital Innovation and Internet Censorship - CoinDesk - Coindesk - November 30th, 2020
- Censored Planet: University of Michigan research finds worldwide increase in internet censorship - WSWS - November 30th, 2020
- Twitter claims it has reversed ban of link to Sidney Powell's Georgia election lawsuit - Fox Business - November 30th, 2020
- Jeanine Pirro Thinks Big Tech is Censoring Her Text Messages - Mediaite - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship In The Biden Era - OpEd - Eurasia Review - November 30th, 2020
- California Voter: Social Media Censorship Is Trying to Make Us Give Up - The Epoch Times - November 30th, 2020
- Ex-Employee Confesses! Behind-the-Scenes of Google Censorship - The Liberty Web English - November 30th, 2020
- The attempt to censor Jordan Peterson shows the intolerance of the social justice generation - Telegraph.co.uk - November 30th, 2020
- PlayStation Reportedly Censoring PS5 Users on Twitter - ComicBook.com - November 30th, 2020
- Ted Nugents Wife Shemane Targets Instagram For The Recent Censor But She Puts It Again On Instagram To Find A Solution For Free Speech - Metalhead... - November 30th, 2020
- Censorship - Wikipedia - November 28th, 2020
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - November 28th, 2020
- What is Censorship? - National Coalition Against Censorship - November 28th, 2020
- Censorship on social media? It's not what you think - CBS News - November 28th, 2020
- 'Welcome To The Party, Zoom': Video App's Rules Lead To Accusations Of Censorship - NPR - November 28th, 2020
- ICANN Can Stand Against Censorship (And Avoid Another .ORG Debacle) by Keeping Content Regulation and Other Dangerous Policies Out of Its Registry... - November 28th, 2020
- Ted Cruz digs in for congressional battle over censorship on Twitter, Facebook - Houston Chronicle - November 28th, 2020
- Censored Planet: University of Michigan research finds worldwide increase in internet censorship - WSWS - November 28th, 2020
- In India, a Clash of Digital Innovation and Internet Censorship - CoinDesk - Coindesk - November 28th, 2020
- Twitter claims it has reversed ban of link to Sidney Powell's Georgia election lawsuit - Fox Business - November 28th, 2020
- The Dangerous Inversions of the Debate Around Trans Censorship - The New Republic - November 28th, 2020
- Carter Estes: Effort to ban Trump officials from Harvard is a dangerous attack on free speech and education - Fox News - November 28th, 2020
- Meet the Censored: Andre Damon - WSWS - November 28th, 2020
- The attempt to censor Jordan Peterson shows the intolerance of the social justice generation - Telegraph.co.uk - November 28th, 2020
- Donald Trump says Twitter censorship is a national security issue - Washington Times - November 28th, 2020
- In hybrid online-offline format, theatre fest explores the Unexpressed, censorship of womens bodies and artistic collaborations - The Indian Express - November 28th, 2020
- PlayStation Reportedly Censoring PS5 Users on Twitter - ComicBook.com - November 28th, 2020
- Was this censorship?: Noam Chomsky, Vijay Prashad ask Tata Lit Live after it cancels their discussion - The Hindu - November 28th, 2020
- Tata Lit Fest cancels a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, raising concerns of censorship - Frontline - November 28th, 2020
- Barcelona members strike back vs. Bartomeu: What does 'motion of censorship' mean, and what's next? - ESPN - September 18th, 2020
- What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible. - EFF - September 18th, 2020
- Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok - The World - September 18th, 2020
- Trumps Partial TikTok And WeChat Ban Tip-Toes Into Chinese-Style Censorship - Forbes - September 18th, 2020
- Judd Apatow Criticizes Hollywood's Censorship For International Market: China Has Bought Our Silence With Their Money - Deadline - September 18th, 2020
- Bangladesh in the Shadow of Censorship The Diplomat - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Why is the government pushing unprecedented online censorship? - Telegraph.co.uk - September 18th, 2020
- Not Content to Censor Conservatives, Zuckerberg Now Seeks to Meddle in Election - National Legal and Policy Center - September 18th, 2020
- New Alliance to Track and Fight Censoring of Conservatives - CBN News - September 18th, 2020
- Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India - The Wire - September 18th, 2020
- China's Influence on the Global Human Rights System - Human Rights Watch - September 18th, 2020
- China Isn't Hiding the Border Tensions With India From Its Public Anymore - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Call Trumps Attacks On The 1619 Project What They Are Censorship of American History - Forbes - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is bringing an updated content censorship term for its users from October 1st - Digital Information World - September 6th, 2020
- Will Joe Rogan Have The Guts To Call Out Spotify For 'Censorship'? - CCN.com - September 6th, 2020
- Joe Rogans Spotify move condemned by fans over right-wing censorship claims - The Independent - September 6th, 2020
- Shadow banning and its role in modern day censorship - Cherwell Online - September 6th, 2020
- Apple reacts to censorship censure - Mobile World Live - September 6th, 2020
- TunnelBear Circumvents Iran VPN Block, Launches 10GB Monthly Offer in the Country - Business Wire - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is changing its Terms of Service, and users are not happy - Windows Central - September 6th, 2020
- End the blacklist of the World Socialist Web Site on Reddit! - WSWS - September 6th, 2020
- Kahle: Upholding the public trust - The Register-Guard - September 6th, 2020
- Science protections must be enforceable | TheHill - The Hill - September 6th, 2020
- Reddit isnt happy about President Trumps anti-censorship executive order - Reclaim The Net - September 6th, 2020
- Forget TikTok. Chinas Powerhouse App Is WeChat. - The New York Times - September 6th, 2020
- The shaky upcoming national election environment can be fixed - JNS.org - September 6th, 2020
- Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer Lin Wood threatens to sue Twitter over censorship - Reclaim The Net - September 4th, 2020
- Finding human territory in a fractured world - The Tech - September 4th, 2020
- We dont believe in censorship: Controversial Aboriginal commentator to lead WA festival amid fear of backlash from Noongar people - WAtoday - September 4th, 2020
- How WeChat Censored the Coronavirus Pandemic - WIRED - August 28th, 2020
- Voter Advocacy Orgs Sue Trump Administration for Executive Order Threatening Social Media Censorship - EFF - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait eases censorship laws after banning 5000 titles in last 7 years - The Indian Express - August 28th, 2020
- Buffy's Amber Benson on censorship, the musical, and Tara's death - digitalspy.com - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait relaxes book censorship laws after banning thousands of titles - The Guardian - August 28th, 2020
- Film and Publications Amendment Act: Protecting, not censoring, our citizens in the digital age - Daily Maverick - August 28th, 2020
- Chinas wrath on Hong Kong is causing artists to self-censor - Reclaim The Net - August 28th, 2020
- Here are 5 excuses liberals have put forward in defence of modern day book burning, and why it makes them look like total morons - OpIndia - August 28th, 2020
- Jessie and Austins aunt vs TikTok the debate around censorship of Bodies in the Suitcase video - HITC - August 28th, 2020
- Artists Ai Weiwei and Fang Fang's depictions of the Wuhan lockdown - DW (English) - August 28th, 2020
- A Radioactive Plague: The secrecy and censorship surrounding civilian deaths from World War II - Milwaukee Independent - August 10th, 2020
- Censorship on the internet in 2020: The potential effects of TikTok - Film Daily - August 10th, 2020
- Wicker: Time to address online censorship - The Vicksburg Post - Vicksburg Post - August 10th, 2020
- Open Technology Fund Authorization Act - BORGEN - Borgen Project - August 10th, 2020
- The Logic of a US WeChat Ban - The Diplomat - August 10th, 2020
- Ben Domenech Clashes With Joe Trippi Over Censorship Of Trump's Social Media - The Federalist - August 10th, 2020
- German Analysis Institute Regrets Censorship of a Professional Science Assertion - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - August 10th, 2020
- China Is Upgrading Its Great Firewall And Can Now Censor Even More Content - News18 - August 10th, 2020
- Twitter censors all links to BitChute - Reclaim The Net - August 10th, 2020
- Fear of Authoritarian Regimes Is Pushing the Film Industry to Self-Censor - Foreign Affairs Magazine - August 10th, 2020