Tunnel of Oppression

tunnel of oppression

A couple of weeks ago at Frear Hall, I decided to visit the Tunnel of Oppression. Honestly, I had been expecting to be walking through a dark hall, probably being a bit claustrophobic, with people hidden somewhere trying to intimidate you into recognizing the many facets of oppression. Then after all that darkness, some kind of reassuring thing would happen just because of the “Shine Through Darkness” slogan. All of this definitely did not happen. Perhaps because I went at four p.m. when the sun was still out and shining, the tunnel definitely was not in fact dark–not that it actually needed to be. Instead, one is going through different dorm rooms, separated through different oppressed people, ranging from domestic violence victims to Native Hawaiians, and these rooms are all inundated with information. While the presentation was a bit wordy, it was evident that the artwork had taken some time to complete. The most striking moment in the tunnel simply had to be in the room discussing the issues facing LGBT. As one walks into this dark room, Elton John’s Candle in the Wind is playing in the background–which, really, is ominous enough. Part of the room seems to be blocked off by black strips of paper and as one peers inside this area, they’re facing (what seemed like) a paper mache model of the human body. Except this is a recreation of a human body that had just hung itself, and off I left the room. Sure, it hadn’t been a real body, but there was something about the way in which the whole environment worked with this recreation that had left me feeling uneasy because suicide is never really something easy to think about. I guess in some ways, hidden people did in fact try to intimidate me into facing oppression head-on.

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One thought on “Tunnel of Oppression

  1. Maria, it seems that this exhibit did not shy away from the some of the dark truths about oppression and the results it can have within different communities- suicide rates for LGBT teens are as much as 5x more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers-” LGBT teens are two to five times more likely than their peers attempt suicide; a study in the journal Pediatrics in 2011 found that 21.5% of their LGBT youth respondents had attempted suicide, compared to 4.2% of non-LGBT respondents” (Nichols). The “hanging body” is a controversial way to express this fact and seems to have elicited an emotional response, which may have been the intention. Class, can you think of other controversial art pieces/exhibits?

    Nichols, Margaret. “LGBT Youth Suicide: As Serious as it is preventable.” Therapy.org. WEB. 2013. http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/LGBT-youth-suicide-as-serious-as-it-is-preventable-0916134

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