Says he will rape anyone who walks through.click here for link
An American artist has come under fire from police and feminist groups after constructing an artwork entitled The Rape Tunnel.
Richard Whitehurst, a Columbus-based artist, has constructed a 6.7 meter plywood tunnel opening onto a secret room to go on view at Columbus' 4D Gallery on October 30th. He said for the duration of the gallery's opening, he will rape anyone who travels through the tunnel into that room.
In an interview with ARTLURKER a Miami based contemporary art newsletter, Whitehurst described his project.
"There is no way in or out of the project room except for this tunnel. As you travel through the tunnel, it gets smaller and smaller, making it so that you have to crawl and put yourself in a submissive position in order to reach the tunnel's destination," Whitehurst said. "At the end of the tunnel the subject will find me waiting in the project room and I'll try to the best of my ability to overpower and rape the person who crawls through."
"I want to make it clear that I plan to make the experience as unpleasant as I possibly can to anyone who dares to crawl through the tunnel. I will try to the best of my ability to make them regret their decision."
It's not the first time Whitehurst has courted controversy. In 2007 he created an installation called the Punch You In The Face Tunnel. This time, he said, he wanted to have a greater impact.
"I started to think differently about my work. In 2007 at the Seward Projects Space in Columbus, I had my first breakthrough with an installation that was to be the prototype for this current one. It was called Punch You In The Face Tunnel. It was the same set-up as The Rape Tunnel except at the end of the tunnel I'd punch the subject in the face instead of raping him or her. The impetus was completely reactionary to the current state of art, and motivated by pure frustration."
"As it turns out, I ended up breaking the nose of the third person to crawl through the tunnel, an aspiring model. She went to the hospital and eventually sued me. Her modeling career was put on hold. The civil case was long and drawn out and the matter still hasn't been resolved. To this day she still has unpaid medical bills. The point of this long aside is that all this took place two years ago, and I'm still having an impact on this young lady's life, something not many other artists could claim about their work."
"Rape seemed like the next logical step."
Whether said he wanted to show that rape was not always a black and white issue.
"The definition is argued almost everyday in courtrooms around the country. The woman who gets too drunk one night and regrets having sex the next morning, was she raped or not? There is no easy answer. I hope some of that ambiguity will manifest itself in this project."
Whether the project is art or assault may ultimately be determined by police. But Whitehouse said he was prepared to go to jail for the sake of his art.