Assembly, Activism, and Architecture was my BHA Capstone Installation. It was on display at Carnegie Mellon University 4/5 - 4/8: Kirr Commons, CUC & 4/26 - 5/3: The Great Hall, CFA
I installed human figures in public spaces which were covered in quotes from student interviews on various political and social topics including current events, systematic structures, minority rights, and what it means to be an American.
Assembly, Activism, and Architecture expands upon traditional materials by focusing on how people can become the medium for architecture. They are the intruding infrastructure (the wall, the barrier, the partition) which is altering the space.
When people utilize their rights to the first amendments, specifically the right to assembly, they are performing an act of guerrilla architecture by engaging the space around them to create a temporary partition which results in the alteration of circulation paths. Beyond this, the people who are assembling call attention to their movement. By creating a wall that blocks a normal pathway, attention is drawn to them and by standards are forced to acknowledge their cause. The right to assembly in conjunction with the other protections in the first amendment give a voice to the activists and ensures their cause will be protected so it will not go unnoticed.
It is impossible to ignore a wall that has been spontaneously put in your path. Since you habitually take your path you will only know of its existence once you come into contact with it. It can then be avoided, but the act of forcibly needing to change your path due to this transformation proves the success of it. You might not believe in the cause or agree with the points of views being expressed, or even stay around long enough to read one pamphlet. But, if nothing else you had to acknowledge that it was there and adjust your routine accordingly. This is the success of the minority’s ability to influence the majority by disrupting convention.
A collection of work from my undergraduate time at Carnegie Mellon University
Yes, and... is my first post-grad art installation that premiered for the month of April at Boom Concepts, 5145 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. The opening show was Friday, April 1st.
The installation itself is an educational exhibit about sexual assault, sexual health, and the importance of consent in relationships.
April is sexual assault awareness month. My goal was to have a space for us to gather as a community and weave our stories together. I created a space where we could show support for survivors and teach each other about how to have healthy, positive sexual relationships with one another.
The Yes, and... project is an opportunity for me to share my personal story battling the emotional turmoil after having been sexually assaulted just over a year ago as well as a platform for others to come out and share their stories and to teach our generation and the future generations about not staying silent anymore.
Rape is called "the most under-reported violent crime in America." In a large national survey of American women, only 16% of the rapes (approximately one out of every six) had ever been reported to the police. When the offender was a current or former husband or boyfriend, about 75% of all victimizations were not reported to the police.
These statistics are scary, but what is scarier is the taboo around sexual health. The goal of this project is to encourage conversations between partners, friends, families, and all communities to break this taboo. A lot of discussions regarding rape culture had been centered around the idea that “no means no” then it transitioned into the phrase “yes means yes.” But why aren’t we talking about sexual coercion, or about when one partner is silent and too nervous to voice their opinions on what is happening to their bodies. Let’s educate people about situations where “yes” might not actually mean “yes.”
I come from a theatrical background, specifically improvisational comedy. In improv we have the rule of “Yes, and…” We say "yes" to accept what our partner has established to be true, then we use "and" to begin the collaborative process of adding to what our partner created. This adds new information and expands upon the original idea so that both partners contribute and are on the same page in the scene.
I believe this concept can be, and should be applied to the world of consent, by emphasizing it to be a collaborative process where both members contribute ideas. A conversation is a dialogue between two people. It involves a “yes” and an “and.” People shouldn’t just be saying yes, or no, they should be having conversations about what they want in a safe environment and a respectful partner who will listen and not make them feel embarrassed. Improv is all about listening to your partner to make sure you are both on the same page 100% of the time.
This project has been greatly influenced by my personal story, theatrical training, and continual interest in sexual education. I’m very excited to be putting up this show and starting new conversations about consent.
The Healing Garden is a part of Yes, and... 's second show : Yes, and... the conversation continues. It includes two papier-mâché figures having tea together discussing personal topics such as sexual activities they would consent to. It is also an addition to the Weaving Wall where those who attended the show could write the ways that they healed (or are in the process of healing) from traumatic events on blooming flower
The Weaving Wall is a safe space for members of the community to express their feelings and have an outlet to share their personal stories, weaving them into a living network of support that will grow on this wall throughout the month. This piece is inspired by May’s adaptation of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in The Secret Life of Bees. May had the empathetic ability to absorb the pain of others across the world, so she would write down the names of people or events that caused her pain and put them into the cracks of a stone wall by the river. This was a therapeutic release of all the troubles bearing down on her. The Weaving Wall invites anyone to participate by writing words of support, concern, trauma, or any other elements of their story, releasing them from behind their mental walls and having the benefit of letting them go with hundreds of others.
At college Tommy and I worked on Mudge’s carnival booth
Chris, Elliot and I got ice cream the other weekend in the sun
Lauren and I did yoga last summer and went on the treadmills to run
I went to Jake’s party and met Nathan and Rob
Larissa recommended a book to read, while I was at my job
Alex, Nate and I went to the Sharp Edge after our class
And just last year, in my own home, Jonathan raped me in the ass
If I can say one name, then why not another
I’ve never been embarrassed to say Dylan is my brother
It’s just another fact, another story in my life
Like how Elizabeth bullied me in grade school, causing lots of strife
If we stay silent and don’t talk about these things that are taboo
Then I fear we’ll live in a world where these things could happen to you
Fruits of the Womb
Fruits of the Womb is a consent picnic. It is a collection of hand crocheted fruits that encourage passersby to PLEASE TOUCH, but only because they have been invited to do so. You wouldn’t touch my apples, grapes, or bananas unless I offered them to you. If I said I do not wish to share, you would respect that. This is a parallel to showing the same respect for another human being’s body regardless of gender, orientation, or any other aspects of their identity. Do not trample or steal from their gardens, let them grow. The picnic display was inspired by Blue Seat Studio’s TEA CONSENT which draws the analogy of making a guest a cup of tea to initiating sexual interactions.
Fruits of the Womb
Touch me Feel me I am a woman
I am your toy Your pleasure A vessel For your seed
I am a gift from G-d A sinner A human
Why am I told My body is a temple Broken with time Turned to dust
My body is a garden Where the flowers and fruits and weeds Can grow And there is no shame
Touch me. Feel me. I am a woman.
Uncontained pairs poetry and prose pieces about sexual assault experiences with a sculptural representation and the author’s anonymous bio. It allows these stories to be part of anyone’s identity—your boss, your roommate, the un/familiar faces walking down the street. We are defined by more than just one negative encounter, yet those parts of a victim’s life can hold a heavy weight on their soul. Culturally, these are not the stories that get shared at the dinner table, instead they get locked away to seldom again resurface. Uncontained empowers individuals to no longer be afraid sharing these experiences and release them from their shackles. It also emphasizes the unknown, showing that anyone could be undergoing elements of this journey.