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On September 4, 2018 Arts Commons turned off the 3-channel video work being exhibited by B.G-Osborne in The New Gallery’s +15 Window. The reasons cited being that the work contained “a lot of swearing and nudity” that had garnered “a lot of complaints from concerned patrons.” The installation in full was removed the following week. You can find full details about the actions that led to this censorship in TNG’s statements:

Initial statement: https://mailchi.mp/29a6335977d9/tng-enews-sled-island-collaboration-main-space-and-job-call-1360085?e=3ea1169c5d 

Follow-up statement: https://mailchi.mp/e3fe72570272/tng-enews-alternative-venues-screen-a-thousand-cuts15-window-receptions-cancelled-and-an-invitation-to-an-open-forum 

The video work, “A Thousand Cuts” can now be viewed at three alternative venues: the University of Calgary Art Department (Calgary, AB), Latitude 53 (Edmonton, AB), and Left Contemporary (Windsor, ON). Please contact these organizations to find out viewing hours. We thank these organizations for their support of this important artwork.

B.G-Osborne has also written an open letter in response to this censorship:

Dear viewers,

It has been brought to my attention that there have been several complaints against my video work due to “cursing and nudity”. Rather than re-edit and censor my work to comfort certain viewers who are offended by the very banal acts of swearing and non-sexual nudity, I have decided to remove the piece from the space entirely. It is ironic that a video compilation that highlights the far-too-common act of cisgender actors being permitted and feeling entitled to play trans characters in film and television, is too offensive when looked at through a critical/ trans-lens. The entire work is meant to be offensive, but several individuals have chosen to fixate on cursing and one brief scene of nudity. If you are cisgender and you were offended by this work: think about why you were offended. Are you trying to protect your children from what you perceive to be vulgar representations of bodies? Are you comfortable with the violence that is perpetuated against trans people, but offended by five or six swear words (that your children have already heard) and a flaccid penis? If you cannot accept seeing a penis on a woman in a movie (even though the actor is a cisgender woman with a prosthetic)- think about the other types of transphobia you might perpetuate in your daily routines. To me, it seems you are afraid of the questions this video will raise in the minds of your children, or in yourself.

To Arts Commons: I implore you to deal with complaints against challenging art work (especially when the content deals with marginalized communities and bodies) in a more constructive way, rather than shutting down a conversation before it can begin. Trans people are still being murdered at a seriously alarming rate, misrepresentation will continue to happen in mainstream media, we will try to take back our image and tell our own stories, cisgender people will keep being offended, and we will keep fighting.

Deeply disappointed, but not surprised,

B.G-Osborne

 

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A Thousand Cuts

B.G-Osborne

A Thousand Cuts is an in-progress found-footage video compilation of cisgender actors playing transgender roles in film and television. The work confronts transgender cinematic tropes and the erasure of transgender people in mainstream media. The clips that are selected for the compilation are, more often than not, from films and television series produced for cisgender audiences. By editing, arranging, and locating visual and thematic similarities between certain clips and dialogue, A Thousand Cuts creates new meaning through a crescendolike composition ranging from humorous to violent- but always inauthentic- representations of trans individuals. The large poster included in the exhibition lists the names of all documented murdered transgender people in the past two years. Last year alone, there were over three hundred documented murders of transgender people world-wide. The poster serves as a reminder to the viewership of the common consequence of transgender expression, especially for trans women of colour.

B.G-Osborne is a Transmedia artist from rural Ontario, currently working in Montreal. Their work focuses on exploring and interrogating the potential of gender-variant embodiment to serve as both a tool for gender deconstruction and revision. They graduated as valedictorian from NSCAD University in 2014 with a BFA in Intermedia. Osborne’s ongoing projects seek to address the complexities of trans representation and violence, mental illness, and family secrets/stories. They place great importance in showcasing their work in artist run centres and non-commercial galleries throughout Canada.

List of clips used in the compilation:

Movies:
3 Generations (2015)
20 centímetros (2005)
40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994)
The Adventures of Sebastian Cole (1998)
Albert Nobbs (2011)
All About My Mother (1999)
ANYTHING (2017)
Beautiful Boxer (2004)
Boys Don’t Cry Oscar Awards Ceremony (2000)
Better than Chocolate (1999)
Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
The Crying Game (1992)
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
The Danish Girl (2015)
Desperate Living (1977)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Dressed To Kill (1980)
Ed Wood (1994)
En Soap (2006)
Flawless (1999)
Glen or Glenda (1953)
Hedwig and The Angry Inch (2001)
I want what I want (1972)
In a Year with 13 Moons (1978)
K-11 (2012)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
La Mala Educacion (2004)
Laurence Anyways (2012)
Ma vie en rose (1997)
M.Butterfly (1993)
Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994)
Normal (2003)
ROMEOS (2011)
Soldiers Girl (2003)
Soapdish (1991)
TO WONG FOO Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
Tomboy (2011)
Transamerica (2005)
Trich Doan Phim (Man on high Heels) (2014)
The World According to Garp (1982)
Zoolander 2 (2016)
Different for Girls (1996)
Elvis and Madonna (2010)
The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)

TV Shows:
All My Children, “Zoe: At the Crossroads part II” (2006)
American Horror Story, Season 5 Episode 3 “Mommy” (2015)
The Bold and the Beautiful, Episode 7078 (2016)
Californication, Season 5 Episode 5 “Charlie got a Blowjob from a Tranny Hooker” (2012)
Cold Case, Season 2 Episode 3 “Daniela” (2004)
Cold Case, Season 5 Episode 9 “Boy Crazy” (2007)
Coronation Street: Roy and Haley’s Wedding (1999)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Season 8 Episode 8, “Identity Crisis” (2002)
Dead of Summer, Season 1 Episode 3 “Mixtape” (2016)
Degrassi, Season 13 Episode 7, “Young Forever” (2013)
The Education of Max Bickford, Season 1 Episode 7 “Revisionism” (2001)
Friends, Season 7 Episode 22 “The one with Chandlers dad” (2001)
The Golden Girls, Season 3 Episode 7 “Strange Bedfellows” (1987)
Hit and Miss, Season 1 Episode 3 (2012)
Hollyoaks, Jason tells Bart it’s over (2010)
The Jeffersons, Season 4 Episode 3 “Once a Friend” (1977)
Just Shoot Me, Season 5 Episode 6 “Brandi You’re a Fine Girl” (2000)
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Season 4 Episode 21 “Fallacy” (2003)
Night Court, Season 3 Episode 6 “Best of Friends” (1985)
Nip/Tuck, Season 3 Episode 14 “Cherry Peck” (2005)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 3 Episode 10 “Mac is a Serial Killer” (2007)
Orphan Black, Season 2 Episode 8 “Variable and Full of Perturbation” (2014)
Penny Dreadful, Season 2 Episode 4 “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” (2015)
Pretty Little Liars, Season 6 Finale (2015)
Sex and the City, Season 3 Episode 18 “Cock-A-Doodle-Do” (2000)
Sons of Anarchy, Season 5 Episode 5 “Orcha Shrugged” (2012)
Tales of the City, Part 1 Chapter 7 (1994)
Tales from the Crypt, Season 6 Episode 8 “The Assassin” (1994)
Transparent, Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” (2014)
Twin Peaks, Season 2 Episode 11 “Masked Ball” (1990)
Two and a Half Men, Season 1 Episode 18 “An Old Flame with a New Wick” (2004)
Ugly Betty, Romijn and Mabius on Joining the Cast (Interview, 2007)
Wentworth, Season 3 Episode 11 “The Living and The Dead” (2015)
WKRP in Cincinnati, Season 3 Episode 5 “Hotel Oceanview” (1980)

Music Videos:
Arcade Fire “We Exist” (2014)

The artist would like to thank The Canada Council for the Arts for their continued support of this project.

_____________

This exhibition is presented in partnership with The New Gallery (Calgary, AB)