Displaying !?uncomfortable!? Art – showing the censored

Concept by Julia Geiser and Tamara Aepli

MAD Course Designing with Blockchain FS2018

The context

The focus of hidden exposure is to show Artwork which is throttled ore censored for some reasons. What art is allowed to show, and if, how and where it is shown is often a question of power and an attempt to structure the public in favor of censorship holders.

Artists create not in a vacuum, but as integral members of a society. Their work, therefore, often expresses viewpoints about society, including its politics and government. Art has always played a prominent role in politics, and the two have had an often complex relationship. Not only through provided supports by monetary or educational Institution the government and corporate authorities regulate to some degree the Arts and what kind of art is been enabled. But to enable only certain kinds of art is just one part of regulating the arts and their influence on society. Censorship of arts is a whole different sphere of intervene in the public. Especially nowadays as many artists express political and social views through their work.

Revisiting the meaning of art and negotiating what art is allowed to do is a crucial part of society and cultural structures. As recent examples show the revisiting of reputedly fixed values in Art is not only an important practice in public but yet a pressing issue for established institutions and societies. To decentralize the negotiation of Art and thus its meaning and value becomes more and more an inevitable necessity. It’s an unavoidable phenomenon which has different provenances as potentials and responsibilities.


Our vision is that thanks to the blockchain technology we can democratize and rethink censorship in arts.

We do not claim, that there are no moral or ethical limits to what art can do. But we want to democratize the negotiation about limits and potentials of the visible and give it back to the public. Negotiating Art is always negotiating values and ethics of society and the public and has a highly democratic value. It is crucial to build public and private opinions and should not only be decided by governments and corporations which potentially put their interests above the interests of the public.

The process is going over the course of a year where selected works are regularly displayed on the website. As a future goal there will be a exhibition at the end of every year which shows selected work. These digital artworks can be purchased at all time. The platform only provides the purchase of the digital original registered and hashed artworks.

The focus of Hidden Exposure is the visibility and (re)evaluation of censored Art and less about the monetary aspect of an art market. But as we are highly aware of the pressure for artist to make a living we will provide a tipping system which allows a certain patronage through the plattform.

The Process

Curatorship and Filtering

In General everyone in the community can become a curator and select artworks. The filtering process is thought to be done on different levels. To get more decision force, there is the option to become a certified curator.

Certified curators have access to already prefiltered selections and can make decisions at an advanced stage and have therefore more impact on which final artworks are going to be featured and displaced at the end.

The position as a certified curator has to be earned, due to your engagement within the community.

(Possible filer for selecting artworks: tagging, filtering of artworks base on your own interest, reviews from others)

How to become a certified curator?

Every community member can earn points to reach the rights to be a certified curator. The exact amount of the points and what values how much still have to be defined and should be evaluated during the process.

There are different options of how to gain your certification points and it should be possible that each individual would have the chance to earn those, independent of his/her social and professional background:

  • Professional knowledge: Artistic background, curating and art education experiences are rewarded by qualification points.
  • Effectiveness: The system keeps track on your success as for example if your selected works get displayed or/and sold. As a display counts on one hand the hidden exposure gallery as well as other galleries, museums, magazines or other certified channels.
  • Art criticism: To push an artwork, there is also an option to write a criticism article/review about the piece. If a certain amount of members consider your review as relevant you will gain points.
  • Activity: If you are engaged in bringing the hidden exposure to the public, e.g. through any form of marketing or (in a future stage) organising an own exhibition in your city, this will be rewarded as well with points.

Rewards for good curatorship

Once you gained the title of a certified curator you can gain tokens

  • for a well written review which has been approved by any community member or the artist himself
  • for organising a physical exhibition
  • for marketing


Reviews can be rated as well as there is a comment-section.

Paying technology

c-cash: secure payment to artists (not tracable)

Token model

Who earns tokens?

Curators can earn tokens with good curatorship and activism as described above.

Artists are not earning tokens but must be supported by Patronage or other monetary income which still have to be defined in a business model. Is is however possible that artist are going to become curators as described above.

What is the value of a token?

The value of a token needs to be defined in a business model.



To ensure the anonymity and protect the identity of the users and contributors to this platform if needed and wanted is one of the main focuses of hidden exposure. As mentioned this applies as well for artists as for curators.

Once an Artist applies they have three possible options to choose from.

Artist Profile

They can create a regular Artists Profile where they can add a summery, a cv, references and contact information.

All the uploaded artwork will be referenced in their Artist Profile. Similar to known Platforms, such as Behance, Tumbler etc.

Further all the reviews related to their artwork will be shown in the Artists Profile.

Pseudonym Profile

There is an option to create an Pseudonym Profile which has higher levels of security and anonymity. This profile will allow a summary of the artists pseudonym and their art. Further there will be a possibility for a peer to peer contact channel. The messages will be encrypted and only visible to the artist. Through this system the artist can be contacted without giving up their private identity or endangering their security.

Anonymous submissions

Artists have the possibility to submit artworks without any informations about the artist displayed. The total anonymity of the submitting artist will be guaranteed at all time.


Upload an Artwork

Every artwork will be accompanied with Information about the Piece:

Name, Year, Size, Material, Technique

Every artwork upload will have a short description.

Every artwork upload will have to fill out a statement on its uncomfortability:

Why and how is this work affected by censorship?

Apply to exhibition

Thematic Topic

Hidden Exposure will put up a set of thematic topics the artist can choose from once they upload a work to the page. This will make it easier for users to search and browse for art.

Registered users can also suggest new topics. They will be reviewed before released.


Additional each artwork and review can be tagged with additional hashtags to specify its search criteria.


The artworks are exposed on the (community) online platform where artists are featured and shown prominently. As a further stage we want to plan a yearly event in form of an exhibition. The organisation of this exhibition is open source, which means that everyone could organise his own event with the artworks he likes to expose. The artist must be asked for permission to expose his artwork.

Security and Guidelines

To provide the possibility to anonymity and to ensure the possibility to display uncomfortable art is the focus of Hidden Exposure. As mentioned there are many reasons why art is presumed to be uncomfortable or got censored. We want to democratise this decision process and make repressed art visible. This does not mean, that there exist no tabus. Therefore we provide ethical guidelines which shall form some rules which allow Hidden Exposure to delete artwork which overstep these Guidelines.

There will be built in a fist step to check if the uploaded pictures can get released in the first place.

Each uploaded Artwork will be attached to the token-system and can get voted out as well.  

The guidelines will provide a general orientation on transgressions.


The filestorage must be secure and ensure the anonymity of the artists. Also worldwide access must be garanteed.

Possible server: storj.io


    • Community Building
    • Expanding
    • Reach international exposure

Marketing strategy must be evaluated in a business model.

Value and Wage

The vision of our model is idealistic and we count on supporters which have a profound interest in freedom of speech, equality and overcome restrictions. More important that the artist can sell a single artwork (or a client buys an artwork which is then his own) is therefore the general possibility for the artist to have his own voice and gets a platform to spread his statements – so the possibility for him to produce artworks.

An income for the artist must therefore be generated and our model provides a patronage system. Community members who want to use images from artist for any private or public reason or just want to support a specific artist or an activity group are giving a donation. It is up to the artist what kind of reward he wants to give, if it’s usage rights of a specific picture or he provides any other information/story for the patron.

We believe that there are many social responsible persons who support the idea of hidden exposure.

  • Selling of artworks is not the primarily goal of our platform/community. More important is giving the possibility to expose the artwork freely on a global level.
    Selling digital artworks could be a further option and some models with blockchain technology are already available.
  • Authentication/Attribution – The artist has authenticated that this work is, in fact, created by him. Because the record of authentication is on the Ethereum blockchain and distributed across millions of machines, the artist cannot later decide the work was not his. This protects any investment as a collector indefinitely.
  • Digital Editions – The artist can chose to offer his artwork in a limited edition.  Each number within the edition is tracked separately on the ledger. The artist cannot later expand the edition as this information is a matter of public record on the blockchain.
  • Proof of Ownership – The purchased number of the edition can be retraced. This information is also decentralized and can not be contested.  
  • Provenance – No matter how many times this work is bought and sold, the original purchase and the purchases of future owners of the work are documented and unalterable, creating a trusted provenance.
  • Remuneration – One wage model would look like this:
    In the initial sales of the artwork, 70% goes to the artist and 30% goes to the platform. The artist gets 30% for every additional sale of that same work, with the owner seller getting 60% and the plattform getting 10%.
    There are other models available. The artist himself could decide which model is most suitable for his artwork.

Future Developments

Artistic exchange


global community engagement

Print Magazines