Day 24

A question that I have been thinking about a lot lately is what would it be like if it was a man in here instead of a woman.  I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know it would be different. They would probably ask him questions about what it feels like to live without privacy, but I am pretty sure that people wouldn’t be concerned about his safety nor would they be asking him if he feels objectified.

I don’t feel objectified by anyone’s behavior.  In fact, people have been incredibly respectful towards me.  However, the fact that I am a woman living in a very public way I can’t deny that it’s a very voyeuristic experience for those watching. In some cases though, I think people watching are more uncomfortable then I am.  Multiple people have emailed me to tell me they feel so uncomfortable watching me that they look at my surroundings instead of looking directly at me.

The fact that I am a woman probably does bring more attention to the project, but it was not a deliberate decision.  In fact, Josh was originally going to collaborate with a man who was going to try and create a small carbon footprint. When that didn’t work out and he and I started collaborating, we didn’t discuss the implications of me being a woman. I think we both though of it in a rather gender neutral way.

However, a few days leading up to my coming in here, I did start to get concerned for my safety.  I also wondered if anyone would try to flash me or do something else to make me feel uncomfortable.  Those thoughts faded quickly once I was in here and nothing of the sort happened.  Other then a couple facebook comments on my hair and a phone number taped to the window things have been really quiet in the objectification department.

I have been reluctant to discuss this element of the project in interviews because the media tends to get fixated on this topic and there is much more to our project then that. I recognize that this is part of the project too and I am happy to discuss it, I just don’t want it to be the only thing we discuss.

That being said if we had done this without people being able to see me, it is likely that the response would have been much different.  I am most definitely not the first artist to put themselves in this situation to make a statement.  It is what gets people’s attention, but I hope that it is the other concepts that continue to hold people’s interest.

5 Responses to “Day 24”

  1. George Says:

    I am glad that you raised the safety issue, because I thought about it when I first saw your project and you alone in that glass room with the whole world being able to see you. I thought about of one of my daughters being in your place, and how I would worry about her. Am very happy everything has gone so well for you and that your safety has never been compromised. BTW, Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Dorothy Santos Says:

    Interesting point, indeed. Not sure if you caught one of my comments to your tweet post about the article you posted, “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism” but it made me think of communication cross culturally. In some cultures, a woman should not be viewed or seen (perhaps due to culture, tradition, and/or religious reasons). It also makes me wonder about one’s intention to follow you (i.e., the project, attraction (i.e., guy who left their number for you, one may also wonder if something dramatic will happen, etc.). Who knows? What it all boils down to really is that your a person, a human being with fundamental needs and that goes beyond sex and gender. They are variables, sure. But, again, your human and you need interaction and physical face time (as your previous comments have made clear) with loved ones and/or people.

    Often times, virtual connection and communication does not give someone a feeling of true presence and being in a moment because people are constantly thinking of what to say. They are either in the past and/or present. Constantly editing. Again, at the end of the day, I think this all goes beyond gender dynamics.

    Hoping you had a good and restful Thanksgiving! :) xoxo

  3. Dorothy Santos Says:

    * you’re – gaaah! and Boo! for the typo!

  4. Anne Says:

    I think the gender issue, and the “stalking” implications, are very relevant not just to public living, but to the online world as well. I know many women (and especially girls) have experiences in the online world that alter their perceptions of their own safety in the real world.

    Internet forums can often bring communication boundaries down–and that includes sexual boundaries. But I think at this point, many people also realize that their internet flirtations are more or less “on record,” and predators in some cases have become more cautious. The parallel of that in the real world, would be them seeing you, but opting to watch from across the street, or to pointedly avoid watching because they assume you have security cameras or staff. The constructed aspect of your setup makes it less dangerous, but gets people talking about the idea.

    Glad it’s got you thinking about it too. Any thoughts about how people who’ve experienced stalking, might view the project?

  5. Cristin Says:

    @ Anne – Thanks for your comment. To answer your question, I have been stalked before. To me, the scariest part of being stalked is not knowing when they are watching or when they will show up and there is a sense of fear for your safety. I know I am being watched so I don’t feel that sense of violation and I don’t fear for my safety. However, you could still make that comparison. As you mention, it gets people talking about the idea. You can also make the comparison to how people stalk each other on facebook. The fact that you can see your ex’s information often causes people turn into stalkers. It opens the door for that behavior because they can watch you without you knowing.
    I would argue though that predators have a much easier time targeting young people because of social media. They may know it’s on record, but it still makes it easier.

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Cristin Norine and Joshua Jay Elliott