Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz is calling significant attention to the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses with her performance art piece, called “Carry that Weight.” The premise is simple: Sulkowicz carries her 50-pound dorm room mattress everywhere she goes. After being sexually assaulted in her own dorm room, Sulkowicz has seen her attacker (another Columbia student) continue to attend school with no reprimand from the administration. Sulkowicz has vowed to carry her mattress — emblematic of the emotional and mental weight of the assault — with her everywhere she goes on campus until her attacker leaves, or until she graduates. She will not allow herself to ask for help carrying the mattress, but if others choose to help her or to carry it for her, she will not refuse.
On the evening of Friday Sept. 19, Georgetown University hosted, via Skype, a gathering of Syrian refugees who spoke from Amman, Jordan. The event followed a striking decision by U.S authorities to deny the refugees visas. The women are actors in an adaptation of Euripides’ “The Trojan Women” hence the Georgetown program’s name, “Voices Unheard, The Syria: Trojan Women Summit.” Georgetown hosted the event in order to support the premiere of “Syria: The Trojan Women” outside the Middle East and to explain both the play and the ramifications for both Syrians and Americans of the lost opportunity to share it. The university’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics had planned to present “Syria: The Trojan Women” this past Thursday through Saturday, and then the play was to continue on to Columbia University in New York City.
Gibney Dance, an organization located in New York City, is now set to receive a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The contribution is specifically designated for Gibney’s Dance in Process residency program and will provide 30 artists with a three-week residency at one of Gibney’s Manhattan locations in the Flatiron district. This follows a notably strong fundraising year for the organization which, in addition to operating a dance company, features two dance centers and a community action program. The Dance in Process program has existed for two years already, but with almost no financial support. The residencies will focus specifically on mid-career artists, who are often neglected in an effort to route all funding to either emerging or established artists.
Lena Dunham, writer and director behind the HBO hit TV show “Girls,” released her first book this week, titled “Not That Kind of Girl.” The book is a collection of essays inspired by Dunham’s personal experiences trying to break into the entertainment industry, and it spotlights Dunham’s dry sense of humor and uninhibited proclivity to talk about sex whenever possible. Dunham says that she hopes her essays will serve as vehicles to share the life lessons she’s learned as a writer and director with other young women.