Reflections on THE RAPE TUNNEL
Many will have noticed the buzz surrounding yesterday’s article. Mindful of the many questions circulating we will now attempt to explain our thoughts and open up the comment box for discussion:
By publishing The Rape Tunnel our intention was to spark conversation on the state of art for a few hours with coverage of an entirely fake art project. We then planned to post a disclaimer revealing The Rape Tunnel as a fake, however, further to the story being picked up Gawker a surge in traffic knocked out our comparatively meager server making that impossible. The site has only just been restored and is still not without problems.
When the author of The Rape Tunnel pitched the idea to us we loved it. Of course it’s an extremely sensitive subject, but our motivation for publishing the piece was to comment on contemporary art, not rape.
We cannot say what the intentions of the author were, but ours were simple: to generate conversation on the state of contemporary art based on the fact that an event like this is not so unrealistic today. So we edited the piece like we would any other and published it.
As a publication we support all kinds of voices – the more raw and off the cuff in our opinion the better – and if those voices wish to remain anonymous then we support that too. On this occasion the point for us is not about accountability, but plausibility.
Although the piece was presented as real we left numerous clues as to its falsity such as that Googling the names of those persons or institutions quoted in the text proved unsuccessful, which contrary to Gawker’s hitherto unsuspected naivety we thought would clearly demonstrate that the story was not real.
Is ARTLURKER vying for the title of artist? No. We have run fake stories before, here’s an example, see if you can find more.
Have hoaxes been done before and better? Yes, but our motivation was not primarily to fool or make a fool of the public, it was to comment on the state of art. For us the piece continued a conversation started by Vito Acconci with Seedbed and the work of the artist Chris Burden for whom the idea of personal danger as artistic expression was central. Publications like The Onion and television shows such as Brass Eye, a UK based TV show that for years duped celebrities into believing their wild lies, also informed our decision to publish The Rape Tunnel.
Finally we feel that this story is important simply because it is believable, but we are truly sorry if anyone was upset.
Further to our reflections the previously anonymous author of the infamous and libidinous The Rape Tunnel has decided that he would like to be named. He is none other than ARTLURKER contributor Victor Barrenechea, whom we naturally celebrate for coming forward. He said “I wrote The Rape Tunnel in the spirit of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast. Echoing the above sentiments my personal intention with the piece was not to discuss rape at all, but contemporary art. The character is fictional, the event is fictional… in short it’s a work of fiction.”
This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.