Mattress Project: Art as Activism

posted by Goeun Park, Advocate

TW: video contains references to sexual assault


Perhaps you’ve seen her on the news. Emma Sulkowicz is a senior at Columbia University who was sexually assaulted as a sophomore and is now protesting against her school's subsequent action (or rather, lack of action) towards her assailant when she filed a report earlier this year. Not only is she challenging the administration as an attending student, Emma dedicates her senior art thesis, “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)” to carry out her activism. To use the capstone of her college education to critique the college speaks powerful volumes. Her Asian American identity also brings to light the often taboo topic of domestic violence and sexual violence in API communities. 

I have a lot of feelings on many of issues that Emma is currently bringing to national attention—anger at the culture that allowed (and continues to allow) such crimes to happen, disappointment at the administration for not acting swiftly nor justly, despair for the thousands of men and women who had their rights taken from them. But I also feel hope.

I am hopeful that Emma’s activism will bring awareness to the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. I am hopeful that this is a step towards healing for both survivors and their supporters. I am hopeful that these conversations on consent culture and anti-violence activism will continue.  

Come to The Talk this Wednesday (Oct. 8) at the AARC at 9PM. Let’s keep this conversation going.