The large tactile sculpture The Consent, by Judith Segers and me addresses the collaborative aspect of physical nearness between humans. Touching is a dialogue. Physical communication is a form of collaborating.
How to respect boundaries? What to do in the grey area between a ‘yes and a no’? How to interpret silence? Those are questions that have led to the creation of this sculpture: a large colorful poof, that functions as a sort of a ‘play blanket’ for adults.
The kickstart for our collaboration in this sculpture, was an article that cached our attention. It brought the news that in Spain in the summer of 2022 the government took on a new law, following other countries where the ‘yes-yes-rule’ was already made legal. A perpetrator may now be prosecuted for rape if the victim has not resisted. This new law also introduces the concept of 'incidental harassment' into the Criminal Code. 'Communications, behavior or sexual or sexist proposals' that put the victim in an 'objectively humiliating, hostile or intimidating' situation are therefore considered an offence.
The ‘rules’ we grow up with being girls, are in a way infuriating. The judgements and female unfriendly reactions towards unacceptable behavior.
‘She was asking for it…’
‘She didn’t say No’.
‘She shouldn’t have cycled that silent path that late at night.’
The preparations many of us had to take care of: putting on our extra wide hoodies and our body curves covering clothes. Cycling home at night with the bike chain in our hands, ready to be able to strike back, and more.
And of cause we are not just talking about harassment towards women, but also children and men.
We invite you to plunge into our sculpture, and test what you want to do.