Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Over the past few days I have seen this article circulated on Facebook by several friends. Emma Sulkowicz is a senior at Columbia University majoring in visual arts and has taken her thesis to a new level. As the article states, Emma is one of many students currently involved in legal battles with the university over the handling of sexual assault cases. For her thesis, Emma has chosen to create a performance art piece that is a reflection of how she feels every day as a survivor of sexual assault who still encounters her rapist on a regular basis. Pieces like Emma’s are heartbreaking, but also fascinating as an artist and arts manager. Her work is controversial, emotional, cathartic, and bold. Her work is fascinating to someone like me, but could be extremely dangerous to Columbia University. By remaining visible as she carries her mattress, she is allowing for discussion of her work and the sexual assault statistics that she is a part of. Her work is pushing for responses to an important issue that universities across the country have for too long refused to acknowledge.