Liberatum is a global stage for provocative cultural events, which unite the public with world renowned cultural icons as participants. It’s kind of like the Robin Hood for creativity: taking from the greatest minds and sharing with the masses …and allowing all to become equally culturally rich. Most recently, Liberatum’s Pablo Ganguli (Founder) and his partner Tomas Auksas (Curator) have collaborated with W Hotels to present Tagged. The 2.2 million dollar renovation of The Living Room at the Lexington Avenue W Hotel served as inspiration for a three part series. The W Hotel is a place where global guests flock to be scene and seen… and this month they can see how New York socialites, rock stars and fashion moguls have been seen on social media at Tagged, even if Instagram has removed their profile. The Tagged exhibition is on display throughout the stairs in the W Hotel lobby until July 25th.
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Tagged kicked off with a panel discussion at the W Hotel: and although it was free to the public, it was hard to find a seat. Many were left standing, but Bella secured a close seat and was able to get a better understanding of the hypocrisy found in social platforms and how it permeates the life of the New York social scene. Glen O’Brian moderated the panel discussion calm and collective like James Lipton… and as the iconic panel weighed in, it felt like the Actors Studio on steroids. The power panel consisted of Scout Willis, Larry Clark, Francesco Carrozzini, Shala Monoroque, and Valentine Uhovski. All of them had unique perspectives on social media etiquette and the audience became engaged with questions: including Pablo Ganguli …the mastermind behind Liberatum, and now Tagged.
After the panel discussion, I was able to chat with Pablo Ganguli and interview both Tomas Auksas and Scout Willis. Both Tomas and Scout shared insight and feelings on the hypocrisy that fills the social media world. Tomas took me on a tour of the photography exhibit Tagged. He created a flow between all the photos with shared elements. Jake Shears photo of four dogs in a buggy is placed next to another picture of Valentino and his partner; both loved dogs and would take their own on private jets.
Then there are other photos connected by music… like the one of Karl Lagerfeld holding an album, style director of W magazine Edward Enninful wearing a headset, and Miley Cyrus displaying her famous tongue. Just as we are connected to the internet, these photos are connected to each other with shared elements and censorship… and create an experience that mimics surfing social platforms, but in real life, in print and without censorship.
“It’s a blow up of social media… looking at Instagram in printed images.”
Tagged may be a well-curated display of Instagram photos, but the event is also blowing up the debate on censorship. We might call it social etiquette, but it really boils down to freedoms and social restraints. And Liberatum has united through a diplomatic art scene… the much invaded celebrities and the everyday people on this hot issue. Tomas Auksas stated that censorship needs to reach a level, that is fair for everyone: and explains the frustration with images of woman breast feeding being censored, but filthy sexual content can be paraded on Instagram. After interviewing Scout Willis, Bella learned this is the reason behind the misunderstood Instagram photos referred to as “Free the Nipple”.
“And that’s what really got me so inflamed. That a woman who has a double mastectomy might be able to post her photos and it wouldn’t get kicked off, but a woman with a single mastectomy would. And women trying to be proud of themselves post breast cancer is a struggle anyways. And for anyone to disavow that… is so upsetting to me”
Scout Willis did acknowledge Instagram has since updated their nipple and tattoo policy, and she was finally able to retrieve some of the photos lost when her account was deleted. But the debate on social etiquette continues and social platforms keep growing. One of the photos of Scout that was censored is on display at Tagged. To see the complete collection of Liberatum’s Tagged, make sure to visit the W Hotel at Lexington Avenue before July 25th. For more details on the next locations visit the Liberatum and W Hotel websites. And as a side note… Bella got to see a different Scout Willis at Liberatum than the public eye has been thrusted with at the tabloid racks of the grocery store: and after research we learned she not only is a voice of reasoning in social etiquette, but the girl can sing! Make sure to check out her latest album.