A social project about domestic violence
Violence against women is a phenomena which has been swept under the rug for a long time. Only in the last years it has become subject to debate and has been brought to the public sphere. However there are still many resistances, many attempts to keep an "uncomfortable" subject behind domestic walls.
We have literally pierced holes in these walls and we have brought the home - the private sphere - in the central square of Bolzano under everyone's eyes. We made a small house out of wood and cardboard which was pierced by writings and illustrations that described domestic violence. The words can be read only entering the house, so that the observer is encouraged to enter inside. The house is divided in two, explaining why a woman stays in a violent relationship, what and how complex are the factors that keep her from escaping, and on the other half why a man feels justified in his being violent and dominant over a woman.
People were often quite wary in approaching our house, as the deepness of the subject was felt despite it's simple and colourful external disguise. We interpreted this wariness as symptom of how much it is still difficult for people to talk about this subject, maybe especially in a city such as Bolzano. People preferred to walk by giving quick unnoticed glances.
Those who actually entered the house and interacted with us had very different reactions. Some older women were very bothered and annoyed by our installation. They said that violence against women is a phenomena limited to recent times, due to the lack of decorum and revealing clothing of the young women and to the broadcasting of the woman as "object" done by the media.
Other women instead were excited and inspired by our project. They read with attention the sentences we had selected, sometimes they recognised themselves in some of the situations described and some have even shared with us their own personal story of violence. Someone also told us we were too subtle in giving our message, that violent men should be physically punished.
Our house was able, without strong language or images, to convey the message, to make many people think and observe. Observers were driven to reflect upon thier experiences and those of their friends.