Emma Sulkowicz—the performance artist and recent Columbia University grad who carried her dorm-room mattress around campus as part of a piece protesting the way in which the school handled her reported rape—has posted a new short film online.
The Cut reports that the Ted Lawson-directed piece "shows Sulkowicz with an anonymous man in a dorm room, engaging in what appears to consensual sex that turns violent." But the artist insists that the video is "not a reenactment" of the "night in August, 2012," that inspired Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight).
In a statement preceding the video embed, Sulkowicz says that Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol (French for "this is not a rape," a reference to surrealist painter René Magritte's The Treachery of Images) is about the viewer and their decision to watch (or not watch) the video without her permission, which she likens to "participating in [her] rape." She adds: "Do not watch this video if your motives would upset me, my desires are unclear to you, or my nuances are indecipherable."
But it looks like most of the people in the (predictably awful) comments section under the video didn't get the memo.
Some commenters took time out of their day to doubt whether or not Sulkowicz was actually raped. Others call her a "skank," an "attention whore," and a "bitch." Others question the validity of Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol as a work of art. Many did all of the above.
None of the commenters who claim to have watched the video appear to have obtained the artist's permission before viewing.
I was only able to find one commenter who even alluded to having read Sulkowicz's statement. "I didn't watch it, because I don't think you want me to watch it," the commenter writes. "I think this is a good idea and really makes you think about what consent actually is."
Full disclosure: I've decided not to watch Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol without obtaining Sulkowicz's permission first. I've reached out to her, and I'll update if I hear back.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.