Feminist Artists Make Installation from Online Threats
Almost anyone who has publicized an opinion online, controversial or otherwise, can attest to the presence of trolls—anonymous bullies who lurk at their laptops, sending hateful messages from behind the veil of anonymity afforded by the Internet. But Amy Davis Roth, an outspoken feminist and participant in online atheist and skeptical communities, has figured out a way to turn the blood-curdling threats she has received online into art. Along with several other activists who have faced similar barrages of insults via email, social media, and comments sections, Roth has transformed the messages into a text-covered installation that is now on view at the LA Center for Inquiry.
In her explanation of the exhibition for Skepchick, Roth writes that the show is titled “A Woman’s Room Online,” a reference to the 1972 installation Womanhouse, created by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro.
“The [exhibition] room is intended to be an average office that a woman would work in. It is simply a normal office space [with] objects that one might have in a workspace, but this particular room has been transformed to clearly show the viewer what it can feel like to be targeted in your place of work, over multiple years with aggressive online stalking and harassment,” she writes. The room and its contents are blanketed in sentiments so hateful, it’s extremely difficult to imagine one human sending them to another human.
Roth says the exhibition is about challenging people to realize that things that happen online do in fact have an effect on the regular, everyday lives of people. Roth wants viewers to “see what it is like to be obsessively judged based on ‘fuck-ability,’ ‘rape-ability,’ as an object, or alternatively as what seems to be a target in a socially accepted (or otherwise ignored) game of online stalking, harassment and silencing techniques.”
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