© Len William, used under a creative commons licence.
2015 marks eight centuries since the signing of the Magna Carta Libertatum or the Great Charter of the Liberties. This document, agreed on 15 June 1215, was intended to end conflict between King John and a coalition of rebel barons opposed to his rule. In practice Magna Carta proved a failure and was quickly annulled, but like many historical events the perceived precedent proved far more significant than the practical results.
The signing of Magna Carta has become a key moment in the United Kingdoms history. It is seen as an important stage in curbing the absolute powers of the monarchy, as an important stepping stone on the path to parliamentary democracy, the establishment of the rule of law, and as the foundation of modern civil liberties. This single event has come to encapsulate many of the rights and values we believe are fundamental to western (and particularly English) society and democracy.
As a country we are celebrating this anniversary for precisely these reasons, and yet the sancrosanct rights that we imagine were imparted to us by Magna Carta are today routinely suspend and eroded. The last decade has witnessed the criminalisation of protest, detention without charge, closed courts, house arrest, mass surveillance programs and a growing gamut of ambiguous laws that threaten to curtail all manner of other freedoms.. The truimphant celebration of this anniversary is nothing more than a smoke screen for political reality, a fig leaf for the very real encroachment on sancrosanct rights.
To highlight this anniversary then I intend to curate an online exhibition titled Magna Errata or ‘Great Errors’ which will highlight the ways civil liberties and human rights have been erroded. I am currently seeking submissions of creative work to be included. Whether photography, video, writing or fine art, if you have a project that sounds suitable please e-mail info [at] disphotic.com or get in contact with me here with a few lines about the proposed work and a link to any appropriate sample images, and please circulate this open call to anyone else who might be interested. Deadline for submissions is May 17th 2015.