As I continue to do background research and prepare documents of the ICI’s upcoming project in conjunction with World AIDS Day, I have been really struck by the way in which information truly is power, especially when pegged against something like AIDS. While the Internet’s massive blogosphere has certainly done its part to open up new, uncensored forms of information, the vast majority of public information still comes down from the unfortunately biased and often times censored ideas of the mass media moguls.
I can’t help but to be influenced by the ICI’s past ongoing projects, such as the AIDS Chronicles, which visually displays both a lack of media coverage on AIDS and the bias with which epidemic has been reported on. By failing to bring up the global epidemic or only mentioning it from a specific angle (i.e. the transmission between gay men or intravenous drug users), it simultaneously quiets public interest on the matter (out of sight, out of mind) and creates skewed ideas around the facts of the disease process. Thus my mind has begun to focus more intently on social control via the control of information.
With these ideas fresh on my mind, I was further disturbed by the recent way in which all media and news personnel were strictly barred from getting near New York’s Zucotti Park during this week’s raid on the Occupy Wall Street protest. This to me was a blatant attempt at information control in regards to current events. (For what purpose, I can’t quite be sure.)
It’s the old adage about a tree falling in the forest; if no one hears about it, did it really happen? If information gets censored the media stops reporting on AIDS, will people still remember that it’s around and that people have perished from it? Perhaps we will only recall the ways in which we sought to remember these people through our memorials to them. Or worse yet, given enough time, be it weeks or decades, will we as a society simply forget all about those that we have lost and why they are gone?
It’s a scary thing to think about.