ACTIVISM

Silenced

Silenced

Silenced is 120 photographs of women and their response to being gagged socially, politically, and individually.

All the models involved were volunteers.

The piece includes women from 6 continents and over 20 different countries.

The oldest model was 76 the youngest was 4.

There are more than 30 different religious and philosophical belief systems represented.

The piece was constructed specifically to feature a variety of gender expressions of female. These include everything from cisgendered femme to cisgendered butch, gender queer to trans gender, and as a result included a wide variety of sexual orientations being represented as well.

The photos were shot in Orlando Florida USA, New Orleans Louisiana USA, and Edinburgh Scotland UK.

The women were all filmed is the first ten seconds of being gagged from behind by a cisgendered man. The hands are intentionally left out of several of the photographs to allow access for people who have had experiences with other antagonists. The choice for using cisgendered men was specific and allowed for simplicity of setting while allowing me to focus entirely on capturing the complexity of emotions from my volunteers.

Responses to the installation ranged from not being able to look at it at all to people needing to touch the photos that they resonated deeply with. Some angrily demanded to know who the trans people were in the piece or condemned me representing women in head coverings. Attendees frequently found one particular photograph that drew them and contemplated it. Others quietly revealed to me and others stories about when they had experienced feeling as these women looked, exposing their vulnerability to strangers, creating a deeper experience. Nobody was indifferent to it.  

It is one of the greatest privileges of my life to have worked with all of these brave women who were willing to create a piece of art in the hopes of changing the world one conversation at a time. 

More about the piece can be found here and about the thesis it was a part of.