A stack of mattresses on a university campus in Georgia is leading a dialogue on the nature of sexual consent amongst university students.
The project is titled “Pillow Talk: Conversations about Consent” and uses a variety of media elements to promote dialogue. The centrepiece is a pile of discarded mattresses that have been adorned with the hashtag #Consent. Placed on the mattresses are anonymous written testimonies of students who were victims of sexual assault. Passing students are asked to add their own experiences to the piece.
The installation’s organizers, ‘Art For Change,’ were inspired to create the work after hearing about Emma Sulkowicz, a fellow university student and her silent protest of carrying around a mattress after she was raped in her dorm room.
Often these issues are suppressed by college culture, with the assailants being protected by their social group. Organizers hope the installation will help students relieve themselves of the burden of holding on to secrets regarding sexual consent.
Victoria Brannon, one of the creators, said the project got off to a rocky start: “We actually had an interesting morning because we had people coming by, completely ruining the sculpture and I feel like that was saying a lot about people asking for consent.” The vandals did not receive consent to trash the installation.