The repercussions of sexual violence are complex and long-lasting.
past tense story is a research-based, transmedia, storytelling project, led by Caglar Kimyoncu, exploring the subject of sexual abuse and assault. The central narrative uses as a starting point the lived experience of our writer In the process of bringing their rapist to trial, they experienced sustained forms of prejudice and discrimination embedded in the legal and social care systems.
Their writing will be expanded upon through research, interviews with people affected by the issues, and improvisations with actors and performers. The transmedia approach utilises various media to tell different aspects of a story, and this project will incorporate performative elements, multi-channel film installations, augmented reality and online content including social media channels.
In the past few years, the debate around sexual violence has become prominent but also polarised. High profile cases have been prioritised and sensationalised while other aspects of sexual violence, including the intersections of race and class, disabled people’s experiences and male rape, remain obscure or even taboo. And the backlash against the limited progress won and openness gained is well underway.
With this project, we wish to break open assumptions and stereotypes and establish a new vocabulary. We plan to look at rape and sexual assault from numerous perspectives. The title, past tense story, references the multiple forms of past tense in the English language: how are narratives affected by the time-frame of the experience (past, previous, continuous), and by the perspective of who is telling the story (the perpetrator, the victim, the friend, the family, the medical and legal professions, the police, etc.)
Through all of our work, we want to achieve a safe space to explore the grey areas, process personal history, understand trauma more deeply, support individuals’ experiences, and make it easier to call out abuse. Participant and audience safety is a priority and will inform new artistic forms and processes. The project will include external support and de-briefs for the team facilitated by a qualified therapist.