Interviewer - Sam Angarita

 

Q: Your work concerns victims of rape or violence which is largely a gendered issue, but you have anecdotes of both male and female victims. How do you feel about juggling both subjects in your work?

A: It is true that rape survivors are female in majority, but that doesn't negate the existence of male rape. My work aims to illuminate rape and its complexities from as many angles as possible. No - I cannot fully understand its effects, and cannot claim ownership of any of the stories I tell in the work - I am the messenger, speaking for those who cannot or will not, and their gender serves no importance to me. Rape is rape. 

Q: This project has layers of re-witnessing an event by creating a new photographic moment and relating it to a past anecdote. How does time function in your work? Are you trying to keep these moments alive or unresolved or do you want to keep them as things past? What’s the role of the site-specificity of your images?

A: For the most part, these spaces are somewhat still - they serve as scenes containing moments past and left for some time. Whether the specific story is resolved or not is of little importance at this point, as long as each possibility is explored (some rapes are never solved). My original goal was to locate legally recorded rape scenes via public record and police assistance, a process which proved itself far more tedious than is reasonable at this point.The specific locations I've photographed are spaces which have intrigued me and presented the possibility of rape occurrence, though none of them are scenes of true reported rape.

Q: Can you talk about the intended circulation of these images? Where do you want them to be seen? How? What do you want people to take away from them?

A: My intention is for people to see these images not only in a gallery or clinical/controlled setting, but also to find artifacts (postcards) and small versions of the images with their accompanying text pieces.  By stumbling upon what might presumably be a promotional art-card, the finder may be intrigued to discover its actual content; a beautiful, simple image juxtaposed with a shocking, gruesome illustration of a violent act. Below the text on each postcard is a link to the project's website, where viewers may explore other images and discuss and post reactions to finding their card. 

This work serves as the beginning of a conversation, a much needed one about rape and its prevalence, which is most often ignored or deemed too difficult to struggle through. I hope to create an opportunity for viewers to become more open and educated about rape as a violent act and a societal epidemic.