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Video performance
A collective testimony of 11 young women

2016

 

The project explores the ways in which sexual abuse survivors use social media platforms in order to manifest and reclaim their stories. My research was focused on YouTube, where I was able to find hundreds of confession videos posted by female survivors. Through this spreading form of cyberactivism, a community is being established and a universal language for the “unspeakable” is reconstructed. Thereby, the voice of trauma is no longer exclusively dictated by external authorities, but rather emerges from within.   

 

There is a ritual dimension in the act of publicly coming out as a survivor. The women, mostly adolescents and greatly influenced by each other, regain control over their abuse experience by producing a new image of it. Many of them prefer to tell their stories through a series of written in advance paper notes and thus, restrain the level of personal exposure. The participants in my project were also in charge of the content supplied to me and the resulted video was inspired by our prolonged discussions on the subject. 

 

From the collected videos, I have printed selected frames, which were then arranged and rearranged like pieces of a larger invisible puzzle. Instead of approaching the individual participants as case studies, my project aims to investigate narratives of selfhood and sexual trauma from psychological and sociocultural perspectives. For instance, it highlights the need to apply therapeutic terminology in attempt to normalise pain and obtain a sense of a belonging; the extensive usage of numbers in hope to organise chaos; the reduction of the abuser to an absolute ‘He’ (from a father or a brother, etc.), leaving only the male aspect of his identity. The revealed mata-narrative was documented as a video performance.  

YouTube participants

Torii, Marry, Katy, Charlotte, Anonymous, Phoenix, Livv, Marilyn, Rose, Sierra & Jade
Camera: Barbora Kleinhamplová
Body&Concept 
: Alma Lily Rayner