The organisers of the conference received this magnificent production of a Catalan translation of Martin Crimp’s ‘The Girl Next Door’. After much discussion it was considered publishable only after a short sequence was redacted given an overriding concern for the protection of people under 18 years of age on social media. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47410520?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c207p54m4pdt/social-media&link_location=live-reporting-story)
We are grateful to the producers for acceding to our request and understand completely their concerns about the content, relevance and artistic integrity of the piece which they express below:
“The decision to upload a censored version of “La Filla dels Veïns” to this web conference has been a hard one for us as this is a project that we have put a lot of work into and whole-heartedly believe in. When Cambridge University contacted us, labelling certain shots in the video as too “overtly sexual” we were somewhat upset and uncomfortable that, as an institution, they were choosing to view a conscientious empowerment as a thoughtless objectification. The shots in question, simply consisting of a woman lying on a bed in her underwear, we continue to believe, are an integral part of the message of our visual poem. In a piece of art conveying that there is no definition to valid womanhood and femininity, defining something as too “overtly sexual” goes against its essence. Thus, when we were asked if these shots could be cut out of the final take we followed suit with a series of emails debating the issue of female sexuality and societal taboos. Eventually, the Cambridge Faculty concluded that the issue lay in the dangers of internet stalking of minors and that they would not post the full video on their website.
Although we still do not fully agree with the censorship of these images and we do not feel that this reason is sufficiently justified, ultimately, the cultural relevance of this conference holds more weight. Not only is “En Valencià” raising academic awareness of the beautiful yet belittled language of Catalan, it has pushed us to produce this project which we are very proud of. And for that we are thankful. Therefore, what is offer here is a redacted version of “La Filla dels Veïns” from which we have cut out the third and most problematic verse.
We understand Cambridge’s concerns with safety of people under 18 years of age, yet we wish to upload the full video to another platform that does not restrain our artistic liberty and expression. Martin Crimp’s "The Girl Next Door” - the piece we translated for the purpose of this video - is an exploitation of the negative sexualisation of women and girls, conveying how this does not define them. Thus, the point of the video is that women can be anything in their own right and still be valid as respected women. By censoring it, we feel as if we are going against this point while simultaneously condoning a narrative which asserts that a woman who is sensual and sexually confident is a "slut". We instead believe that a woman can express her femininity however she chooses, whether that be through her body or sensuality or not is her choice.
The concerns of the university are not at all fuelled by this sexist and objectifying discourse yet we still want to push this point forward and hopefully start a dialogue, regardless of the cutting of this section. We are grateful for being allowed the opportunity of writing this caption and continue to remain true to our ideology. As well as this we are thankful for being able to participate in a competition with such an important purpose.
We hope our video brings about this much-needed discussion and that our decision to ultimately censor ourselves is respected. The full version will be online at some point and we hope, if you are interested, you will watch it."