In response to the #metoo's that have recently proliferated on social media, I decided to do an interactive art installation/performance piece entitled Active Voice, which shifts the burden onto the perpetrators and calls for communities to do better.
Active Voice is an interactive art installation/performance piece, which contains 3 parts as described below. They will take place within the space of a freestanding canvas. I will provide acrylic markers for people to use.
In Part I we name those who have made us unsafe in our bodies and identify who they are in a 1-2 word descriptor- uncle, lawyer, etc. By doing so we focus on the perpetrators of sexual violence, rather tha...n forcing ourselves to continue to write our own names. We expose that sexual violence comes not from unspeakable monsters in the shadows, but from those immediately around us. Where 'me too' said "I've experienced sexual violence/harassment too," I want to shift the burden of the sentence to the perpetrators of violence and harassment.
Participants will identify, by first name only OR initials OR if you've given this person a name, of people who have perpetrated sexual violence and harassment against them, as well as their relation to them and/or their occupation. Please do not identify perpetrators by their full names or unique first names as there are possible legal implications of this.
My intention here is not to public shame, but rather to empower victims with a place to name perpetrators and to illustrate that sexual violence and sexual harassment come from within our immediate communities. While we name perpetrators- by first name only- it is important to understand that in order to combat rape culture we must hold both a space for the full weight of victim/survivor experience, and also hold space to hold perpetrators accountable by allowing them to grow. By growth and accountability, I mean that perpetrators must understand the weight of their actions, strive to unlearn rape culture, and actively try to "do better" for victims of sexual violence and harassment. As such, I want this to also be not only a space with resources for victims, but also an educational space for those complicit. There will be information about consent, sexual violence, and resources for victims and for accomplice learning.
In Part II we name, again by first name or initials only, those who could've intervened but failed to. These are people who failed to intervene during the incident(s) themselves or in the aftermath. While the sexual violence or harassment itself is a problem we must address, we need to go further and address those that allow it to perpetuate and those who don't stand up for victims/survivors. Again, this naming is by first name or initials and relation to this person only.
Again, this portion is not intended to shame, but to showcase the magnitude of the problem and to illustrate the need for our communities to respond to, hold, and heal victims.
Part III looks forward to what we can do next. In this section participants will write "I will" statements answering the question, what will you personally do to do better for your community, for victims and survivors?
While Parts I and II are a space for victim/survivor voice, Part III, and the art space is a space for both victims and accomplices. We cannot make these changes alone. 'Liking' someone's "me too" is not enough.
The duration of this piece will be the week of the 10/30- 11/3 on the University of Washington Seattle campus. It will be between the Allen libraries
WHERE: University of Washington Seattle Campus, Between the Allen Libraries, see campus map here: https://www.washington.edu/maps/
(In the unlikely event it's sunny I will be between the Allen Libraries and the Husky Union Building)
WHEN: 10/30- 11/3
Monday 10/30 - 12:30pm- 3:30pm
Tuesday 10/31 - 10:30am- 1:30pm
Wednesday 11/1 - 12:30pm- 3:30pm
Thursday 11/2 - 4:30pm- 7:30pm
Friday 11/3 - 11:30am- 3:00 pm
Please invite people in your community. Art is impactful when it is witnessed, participated in, and experienced. This event is open to the public.
A map of campus can be found here: https://www.washington.edu/maps/
DISCLAIMER: Although I will be present to reinterate the rules of the piece and will attempt to cover up any identifying information, if you do not abide by the rules of the piece, I cannot be held responsible for information disclosed on the canvas.