In the autumn of 2014, the Utah State school shooting threat against Anita Sarkeesian was the climax of the Gamergate scandal and its coverage in the public eye. As I watched female gaming pundits duck for cover on Twitter and fend off death threats by leaving their homes for undisclosed locations, I was oddly struck by the similarities in psychological warfare and rhetoric used by the Gamergate community and, of all things, the caretakers within the Charlotte Perkins Gilman classic, The Yellow Wallpaper. Therein held the same infantalization, gaslighting, and drive to destabilize vulnerable parties. Sure, John might not have asked for his post-partum bedridden wife to go fuck off and die, but the mansplaining tone spans the centuries.
In After The Yellow Wallpaper, I explored this parallel between past misogynistic attitude and present, installing a wide paper painting in a yellow floral print, with holes torn away, in the sheltered dark room of the Whittier Galleries at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Behind the painting, I broadcasted a narration of parts, alternating between Victorian floral definitions, Gamergate headlines, and excerpts from The Yellow Wallpaper itself. In doing so, this engendered a space intended to second-guess one’s sanity – is there sound coming from behind the work? or am I just hearing things? – as well as literally plastering over a dark and sordid subject matter with the bright and beautiful.