Project Series 48 artist Andrea Bowers exhibit “#sweetjane” in X-TRA by Karen Dunbar

“CR Redux: Broadening the Circle,” by Karen Dunbar, X-TRA

Feminists taking on sexism and violence against women is nothing new, but the Internet and social media have transformed the circulation and effects of that violence and sexism, along with the visibility and nature of the discourse around those issues. Andrea Bowers’s multi-media installation #sweetjane (2014) and Emma Sulkowicz’s Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight (2014-2015) are two examples of recent artworks that address social media, as well as the violence that permeates our culture and often surrounds the tellers of truth. In the former, Bowers examines a 2012 attack on a sixteen-year-old girl who was abducted and raped by star high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio. In particular, the work considers how social media contributed to the attack and later provided evidence against the attackers. Bowers’s project also highlights the involvement of a group of “hacktivists” going by the name Anonymous, who advocated for the rape survivor, in contrast to her further silencing and victimization by social and mainstream media.