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ERINN SAVAGE – Performance
Tomorrow 15:00 GMT

The Dick Pic Project: Submission Cards

41% of British women aged 18-36 have received an unsolicited dick pic.1 Through open submissions over the past two years people have been sharing their stories, experiences, and images of cyber flashing, which have been retold and represented through explorations across different media. The project aims to create discourse around this rarely discussed yet prevalent issue, as well as providing a platform for victims to take ownership of their harassment. 1 Smith, M. (2018) YouGov: Four in ten millenials have been sent an unsolicited penis photo

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The website functions as a platform to show all the images, stories and animations made throughout the project, whilst also having sections that provide practical information and direct victims to support services. The design of the main page bombards the audience, playing on ideas of consent. Although the content warning is clear, when exhibited at GSA in October 2019 the work still caused controversy and was censored by senior management. Surprisingly for an institution where one of the core values is ‘disruption’, the project has often faced knockback from staff, who have encouraged a more metaphorical approach. This has called into question how much influence the male gaze still has on today’s society – even within the art school.

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The Colleague

The stories that were submitted about people’s experiences of receiving unsolicited dick pics encouraged exploration into the relationship between text and image. After considering various media, animation soon became the main method used to make work, providing a perfect platform for narrative. Following initial, shorter tests, The Colleague was developed, using entirely hand-drawn frames.

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Penis Etchings

At the start of the project the images were developed in different media, considering whether presentation of the work through traditional methods of making would elevate the subject matter. Throughout the project theories of art and pornography were examined and challenged, both from the artist herself and her wider audience. Etching and printing the unsolicited dick pics immortalised them from throwaway, transient images into works of art. The traditional and highbrow status of the medium instantly elevates the work. Working on small individual plates allowed multiple images to be printed alongside each other, alluding to a carefully curated photo frame.

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Penis Stitches

The embroidered pieces draw instant connotations with feminine and tactile craft: the soft threads and muted colours encourage the viewer to touch the work, and create a tension between the message and the medium. Unsolicited dick pics are often sent via social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, where they disappear once viewed. In contrast to this, the permanent and labour-intensive processes of etching and embroidery preserve what we can assume were intended as temporary records of sexual harassment.

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On The Bus

Taking the work back into the digital sphere referenced the origin of the photos, as well as creating a digital campaign. On The Bus is deliberately made to be viewed on a phone – the same device where images are usually received. Instagram has regularly censored the project work, even though it isn’t in breach of the community guidelines. This is part of a wider issue that sees the platform dictating what sexual content is deemed ‘appropriate’ based on patriarchal ideals and misogyny. Interestingly, there are rarely consequences for the men sending unsolicited dick pics via the platform.

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Unsolicited Sketchbook

Drawing was always the starting point throughout the project, with sketchbooks acting as an archive of all the submitted images. Friends and complete strangers shared their varied stories with complete honesty, trusting in the artist as confidante.

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“I received one off a guy on Tinder – it was the most un-aesthetic thing I’ve ever seen.”

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Flesh Vases

In her stand-up act ‘Nanette’, comedian Hannah Gadsby discusses Pablo Picasso’s misogyny, deriding his cubism as “putting a kaleidoscope filter on your dick; painting flesh vases for your dick flowers”. After initially considering what these would look like through a series of drawings and prints these ceramic “flesh vases” were made. The forms represent conventional Western beauty standards, with the male vase deliberately larger and more dominant. By removing the head, and turning the body into an inanimate, functional object, the human form is reduced to purely aesthetic qualities.

Zwischen Tag und Traum

Illustrations for a publication based on a text by artist David Roeder.

Forgotten: Royal Park Primary

Royal Park School was bulldozed by Leeds City Council in 2014, after almost a decade of campaigning and fundraising to turn it into a community hub. The space has been empty ever since. The work aimed to challenge the traditional ideas of a comic, and see whether it could successfully function without the inclusion of any characters or written narrative. The use of repetition and aspect-to-aspect transitions act as visual prompts for the reader to infer their own meanings and storyline.

Pause or Pay UK

As a graduating student from GSA I would like to state my support for the Pause or Pay campaign. Please read their full manifesto on their website: