No Maybe Yes
Beyond the disheartening statistics that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience sexual assault in their lifetime, consent has become a prominent topic in the public discourse in the last few years with the emergence of the #MeToo movement. Our collective attention is most often dedicated to understanding the contributing factors, which influence the pervasiveness of sexual violence. However, how normative consensual relations are practiced between willing partners is an understudied area. The artistic thesis project discussed in this support paper investigates how consent is depicted in popular film and television.
No maybe yes is a three-channel video art installation. Through appropriation and postproduction art practices, this project explores how behaviours, customs and conceptions of sexual consent were depicted in popular and critically acclaimed fiction films and television series in the year 2016. The cultural materials reviewed take both viewership and reception into consideration to establish a balanced cultural sample.
The intentional act of not including traditional instruments of documentary storytelling, such as interviews with subject-matter experts or witness testimonies, challenges what constitutes a documentary practice. This project addresses sexual consent while asserting that popular media can be understood as archival time-based objects, relevant to sociological and research-based study.
The medium, form, and style of the project draw intersections between ideas of appropriation, the archive, humour, popular culture, and issues of representation in the media. This meta database documentary project exists in relation to the tradition of artistic documentary collage films and the archive of contemporary popular film and television.