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Richard Whitehurst's Rape Tunnel
October 1, 2009 5:30 PM   Subscribe

An article in an art-related blog recently mentioned a new installation by a Columbus, Ohio conceptual artist named Richard Whitehurst: an exhibit reachable only by a tunnel, growing progressively narrower, with the artist waiting to rape anybody who attempted to pass.
I've constructed a 22 ft tunnel out of plywood that leads into the project room. There is no way in or out of the project room except for this tunnel. As you travel through the tunnel, it gets smaller and smaller, making it so that you have to crawl and put yourself in a submissive position in order to reach the tunnel's destination. At the end of the tunnel the subject will find me waiting in the project room and I'll try to the best of my ability to overpower and rape the person who crawls through.
I want to make it clear that I plan to make the experience as unpleasant as I possibly can to anyone who dares to crawl through the tunnel. I will try to the best of my ability to make them regret their decision.
The article, which was picked up by Gawker and spread from there, revealed that the Rape Tunnel was the sequel to an earlier work, the Punch-You-In-The-Face Tunnel, which Whitehurst constructed as a reaction to frustration with the current state of art, and for which he is still involved in a lawsuit with a model over her broken nose (which he seems pleased with, stating that, unlike other artists' work, he "is still making an impact on this young lady's life"). Or would have been, had the story not been a hoax; in reality, neither Richard Whitehurst nor his interviewer actually existed. The blog which posted the original article seems to have been overwhelmed by traffic.
posted by acb (41 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
So there's not actually any point to any of this?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:36 PM on October 1, 2009


This is really only interesting if it's not a hoax.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:37 PM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Regardless of the fact that this is an admitted hoax, I fully expect the right to use "taxpayer-funded rape tunnels" as a rallying point to complete the gutting of the NEA.
posted by dersins at 5:42 PM on October 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Suddenly my "Got Your Nose" tunnel seems sort of tame.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2009 [35 favorites]


Man, no one ever wants to enter my velvet tunnel of warm, loving embraces.


Wait a second.
posted by The Whelk at 6:00 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the story on Tuesday (it was linked in a deleted Mefi thread, actually) and really didn't think twice about it. I completely assumed that the exhibition was real but was not what it said it was.

Lots of art installations have descriptions that are part of the ruse. Just a few weeks ago at this, I saw a sculpture purporting to be an illegal immigrant in a costume. I don't really see that as a hoax. The mystery around it is the art itself.

Knowing that the story was a prank, I'm a little disappointed now.
posted by roll truck roll at 6:06 PM on October 1, 2009


hmm. basically, if one person went to see this, it would be surprisingly popular.
posted by snofoam at 6:14 PM on October 1, 2009


Do you ever wish that you could flag things for being inappropriate or offensive in real life? And that might make them go away quietly? Cuz this just seems like this hoax is some sort of cultural spamming/ flame bait.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:17 PM on October 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm so confused... What was the point exactly other than to confirm the rantings of my Republican sister that art is crap and deserves no funding?
posted by NicoleyDarko at 6:50 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somebody I sort of know always said his superpower would be the ability to rape the willing. This is a little bit like that.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:54 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, something good came out of this debacle for me at least: I'm stealing the phrase "culture spamming" from Cold Lurkey.
posted by youarenothere at 6:59 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here is the site where tunnel images originated.

As you can see, the real tunnel has a much more benign function. Unless you have really weird feelings about air.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:34 PM on October 1, 2009


Oh, well. Time to re-read Benefit of Clergy.
Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats. However, even the most flagrantly dishonest book (Frank Harris's autobiographical writings are an example) can without intending it give a true picture of its author. Dali's recently published LIFE comes under this heading. Some of the incidents in it are flatly incredible, others have been rearranged and romanticised, and not merely the humiliation but the persistent ORDINARINESS of everyday life has been cut out. Dali is even by his own diagnosis narcissistic, and his autobiography is simply a strip-tease act conducted in pink limelight. But as a record of fantasy, of the perversion of instinct that has been made possible by the machine age, it has great value.

Here, then, are some of the episodes in Dali's life, from his earliest years onward. Which of them are true and which are imaginary hardly matters: the point is that this is the kind of thing that Dali would have LIKED to do. ...
posted by maudlin at 7:45 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unless you have really weird feelings about air.

Does being afraid it will rape you count as weird?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:06 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now I am supposed to be afraid that a tunnel is going to rape me? Wait. Something is wrong. It makes much more sense to be afraid of going through a long dark tunnel to be born. Now if you said to me, "Gravy, walk to the end of this giant wiener and I will rape you," that I could understand.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:17 PM on October 1, 2009


Dali's LIFE is one of the strangest, worst, wonderful books ever. I love it so much.
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on October 1, 2009


Won't he be surprised when Mr. Garrison crawls in.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:32 PM on October 1, 2009


So it's kind of like Eon, with rape instead of Jarts.
posted by No-sword at 8:36 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck this guy, whatever his stupid game is. Trivializing rape and art at the same time reserves him a space in the Tenth circle of Hell.
posted by kozad at 8:47 PM on October 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Fuck this guy, whatever his stupid game is. Trivializing rape and art at the same time reserves him a space in the Tenth circle of Hell.

thanks for putting into words exactly why this was bugging me
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:02 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Me some, too. Rape this guy, instead. Pretentious shock-Mommie-&-Daddy lower-case "a" art by a charm-school dropout. I'd rather be a Philistine.
posted by Forrest Greene at 9:40 PM on October 1, 2009


I wonder if he liked to build rape forts when he was a kid.
posted by borges at 10:40 PM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cock punch him.
Send him to cock punch island.
Saw a nice John Singer Sargent painting
at the local art museum today, that was art.
This is pretentious artistic crapola.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:53 PM on October 1, 2009


I hated this back when it was called Leprechaun IV
posted by kid ichorous at 12:37 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am sad that this art hoax has diverted attention from this awesome sculpture of Bernie Madoff being impaled by a farting bull.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:57 AM on October 2, 2009


I think someone needs to turn this around try and rape him instead. Because sometimes the artist is the art.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:15 AM on October 2, 2009


This 'art' sucks forty ways to Sunday - considering the hoax the 'art' itself. As an 'Onion' piece it would be funny-ish, but otherwise it is the worst kind of 'cultural spam'. (This phrase 'cultural spam' has me embarrassingly excited.) It's maybe even more malicious in that it lowers the quality of discourse by denigration and degredation. By making a facile, thoughtless 'shock-value' work and then garnering for it tremendous amounts of attention - attention that many people will only examine enough to arrive at the conclusion, "Wow, artists are full of shit, aren't they?" - it guarantees a lot of people who otherwise might have been receptive to contemporary art will turn away, thinking, "Oh yeah, art, that's that 'Rape Tunnel' guy, right? Yeah, I don't need to bother with that, art is stupid."

So. Double dick punches to "Kyle Munzenrieder" for dropping this turd in public.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:43 AM on October 2, 2009


Fuck this guy, whatever his stupid game is.

This is pretentious artistic crapola.

I think someone needs to turn this around try and rape him instead. Because sometimes the artist is the art.


Am I the only one who read the part of the article where the whole thing is made up and the artists doesn't exist and isn't real?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:44 AM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Awww - crap, sorry "Kyle Munzenrieder" those quotation marks were supposed to be filled with "Artlurker."
posted by From Bklyn at 4:44 AM on October 2, 2009


Okay, people - here is LT Standing On A Soapbox And Yelling In The Town Square At People on the Internets:

1. This is fucking horrible.
2. It makes no difference that this was a hoax, that the artists don't exist, that it's not real.
3. Rape IS REAL, IS DEVASTATING, and only people who haven't had exposure to it think it's cool to use the word "rape" casually.

I really hope to God this thread gets deleted.

It's not the best of the web, and jokes about rape aren't at all funny.

Unless you think that 2-year olds getting interviewed at a Child Advocacy Center, and them having to be drilled on what prepositions are just to talk about what happened to them is hilarious also.

Or maybe you think that being told you can refuse any part of a rape kit, up to and including an anal swab is really comedy gold?

Jesus Christ, Metafilter - can we just STOP with the rape-is-good-fodder for FPP posts?

Until you know about this shit first-hand, do some advocacy around it, or get involved in what really goes on around this issue, don't fucking post this shit. It's incredibly shallow, self-serving and doesn't score you any cool points online. It's just horrible.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:36 AM on October 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


I fully expect the right to use "taxpayer-funded rape tunnels" as a rallying point to complete the gutting of the NEA.

That, and their new tagline: "Funding unmarketable art on the back of the taxpayer since 1965" doesn't help.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:52 AM on October 2, 2009


What an odd set of comments. Lots of people who still think it's real or that the artist is a real person, and lots of people just almost responding to each other, but not quite. And now some people condemning the original poster for... something.

LT, I've experienced many of the things you list, and worse. I'm not sure what not having this fpp would have changed.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:25 AM on October 2, 2009


Send Roman Polanski through it and I promise to drop the subject.
posted by Scoo at 7:25 AM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, Metafilter - can we just STOP with the rape-is-good-fodder for FPP posts?

But the FPP isn't really about rape; it's about an asshole who is trying to make a statement by drumming up controversy over a non-existent installation, and what our reactions say about us, and about our views on art.

caveat: I was going to post this last night, but, beer & pizza.
posted by desjardins at 9:29 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Desjardins - just like the post about a video game where You Are The Rapist was about video games, right?

Look, I know I came off as strident and loud in my comment, but COME ON. To my way of thinking, this post only serves to trivialize what rape is and the effect it has on people.

The point being, we can carp all day long about "viewing art/art and its effects" but doing this in the context of sexual assault doesn't do ANYTHING about rape or art. It doesn't make better art, nor increase anyone's knowledge of the reality of rape.

I posted what I did to allow people a glimpse of what we're talking about in real terms with this.

I just think we can do better both on-and offline about this issue.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:01 AM on October 2, 2009


just like the post about a video game where You Are The Rapist was about video games, right?

Are we talking about that weird Japanese butt game? Why not have a post about that? It's worth discussing and thinking about and even arguing about. Violent movies don't cause violence, and neither do Metafilter posts.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:25 AM on October 2, 2009


Are we talking about that weird Japanese butt game?

Weird Japanese butt games don't cause weird Japanese butts, either, roll truck roll. DUH.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:03 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the story on Tuesday (it was linked in a deleted Mefi thread, actually) and really didn't think twice about it. I completely assumed that the exhibition was real but was not what it said it was.

I think it was linked here on Metafilter, a young lady - art student - plugged her pooper for a week or more and laid this GIGANTIC turd as an art project. Filmed it and everything.

Turns out it was a hoax, naturally. A cursory Google for the event turns up nothing, sorry.
.
.

It's not the best of the web, and jokes about rape aren't at all funny.

At a previous job I sat next to a Sri Lankan fella who threatened to rape me about once a month [a random, fellow staff member of his choosing was normally going to assist]. He'd have a big smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and he rolled his Rs like most Sri Lankan born speakers. No matter how hard I tried I would always burst out laughing.

At another job I used to sit next to a Chinese born girl who used to joke about me raping her. Not often, but often enough. I found it rather interesting and slightly disturbing, and I absolutely refused to join in. Just a sheepish grin, maybe.

She was a top chick. We could talk or joke about anything.

"there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:34 AM on October 3, 2009


Send Kimbo Slice through it.
posted by bwg at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Freaken hilarious, mate! Made my morning.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:34 PM on October 5, 2009


I was just going to post this. Thank you double post detector. I think this is a reasonable topic for the site. This was a pretty strange story.
posted by chunking express at 11:04 AM on October 15, 2009


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