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No Further Action

This is an installation I created in an alleyway in central Oxford. This area of Oxford has devastatingly high sexual assault cases, mostly towards younger women. Facts from Oxford Mail are written on the underwear about reported rape cases in Oxford. The one that stood out to me was that 2585 rape cases have been left under ‘no further action’ in Oxford since 2010 whilst 3487 have been reported. I used this space to create a memorial like atmosphere to the public and highlight on how many cases go unsolved which is very scary to me. Living in Oxford and hearing of personal and public news on sexual assault and abuse inspired me to create this piece and comment on the morbid side of Oxford that is hidden and allot of the time covered up.

I was also inspired by my geometry project at Brookes for the design of this piece. In the geometry project I created an installation using string and trees creating a web between trees which replicated a washing line alike to ‘No Further Action’. I thought the geometry piece looked successful but lacked depth behind the concept.

Zoe Buckman also massively influenced me to create this piece as she creates artworks battling cultural norms of women mainly featuring sculptures or installations of embroidered womens lingerie.

Photographs of installation:

A short video of the installation:

I wanted this piece to have a beautiful feminine sentiment to it, acting as a funeral like scene towards the assaults in the exact spot I chose to show the installation. White roses have the essence of purity so I added these to show how the women that have been affected by assault have lost a pure and natural aspect to them they will never grow back.

Alike to growing up a woman in the UK there’s the stereotype of ‘girls mature faster than boys’. In reality girls lose the chance to be pure from a young age as we are taught that the best thing you can be as a woman is beautiful. This creates toxic maturity in young girls as this is all we think we should be, so we lose a lot of the interest and fun of developing who we are as a person. To me this creates segregation and the idea girls are completely different and can be objectified and lesser. 

I took the photographs in the evening to highlight the darkness of what this area has seen. The red light shining over the installation was unintentional but that is my favourite part of the piece. It shows the violence and anger I feel towards this subject. The lighting also completely changes the piece for me as it greatly reminds of The Red Light District and gives the piece more expression of violence and sex. 

Moving forward I would like to create a more abstract piece of photography capturing the essence of the idea behind this piece. This is because my photo shoots so far have been conceptual and I’ve liked the ideas behind them, but now I need to create expressive pieces that instantly creates a conversation between the art and the viewer.  Similar to my photography piece ‘The Monkey Society’ I want to narrow down the key factors in these photo shoots that capture the anger towards feminine issues within society and bring the feeling of this into a series of images.

Zoe Buckman’s artwork: