carry that weight

Emma Sulkowicz Made a Film Addressing Rape

Emma Sulkowicz.
Emma Sulkowicz. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Emma Sulkowicz, the artist and activist behind Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), has made a new video, titled “Ceci N’est Pas un Viol” (This Is Not a Rape). The eight-minute video (which can’t be embedded, only watched at her site) was directed by the artist Ted Lawson, and shows Sulkowicz with an anonymous man in a dorm room, engaging in what appears to consensual sex that turns violent. “’Ceci N’est Pas un Viol’ is not about one night in August, 2012,” Sulkowicz writes in a preface text to the video, in reference to her alleged rape while she was a student at Columbia University. “It’s about your decisions, starting now. It’s only a reenactment if you disregard my words. It’s about you, not him.”

A still from the film.

The video is also prefaced with a trigger warning, which clarifies: “Everything that takes place in the following video is consensual but may resemble rape. It is not a reenactment but it may seem like one.”

“You might wonder why I’ve made myself this vulnerable,” Sulkowicz, who appears naked in the film, writes. “Look — I want to change the world, and that begins with you, seeing yourself … Do not watch this video if your motives would upset me, my desires are unclear to you, or my nuances are indecipherable.”

“Please, don’t participate in my rape. Watch kindly,” Sulkowicz concludes. Read her whole text and watch the film here.

Emma Sulkowicz Made a Film Addressing Rape