“I am standing here today for women’s rights and sexual self-determination. Women have sexuality, just like men have one. However, women decide for themselves when and how they want to be touched, and when they don’t”.
As a form of activism against rape, in the name of art and more important in the name of consent, Swiss performance artist Milo Moire decided to put herself on the line to show what consent actually means.
A line from her website in regards to the piece states: “What happens if a woman[s] sexuality is on public display … [and she] takes the initiative, thereby creating clear rules for the intimate exchange?”
Her performance however has been disapproved and seen as risky by many, while others were applauding her for the courage to set the bar. Maybe the main reason is that many people are afraid to express themselves and this Swiss performance artist is not. Very recently, 32-year-old Milo Moiré wanted to teach people a lesson about a hot-button issue: consent.
‘Dressed’ in a mirror box which was covering her chest at one time and her vagina at other, she hit the streets. Standing like that, with just an enclosed box covering her privates, the Swiss invited complete strangers (both men and women) in London, Düsseldorf, and Amsterdam to touch her breasts and her vagina through the openings in the boxes. People were more curious than surprised.
Throughout the performance, of course, cameras followed her to document the event.
She did set some rules, though. The ones who wanted to touch her: they were not allowed to touch her for more than 30 seconds. And surprisingly, everybody who wanted to touch her, respected her rules and her wish.
The main and crucial idea about the whole performance was in order to create a line for consent. According to Milo, she set the ground rules, provided her consent, and allowed strangers to touch her.
Although it may sound odd too many, Milo’s performance seemed to have also proven a social study as well: people respond well to boundaries.
In her interview for Cosmopolitan about the performance, Milo explained that she wasn’t expecting as many people to approach her and touch her. She allowed them, and they respected her rules and limits. What surprised her, she admitted is the fact that there were even two women that approached her and wanted to touch her vagina. When the box was covering her breasts, though, the results showed that an astounding 40% of the random people who touched her breasts, were women.
She also emphasized that the performance was her way to show appreciation and reverence to Austrian performance artist Valie Export, who worked for women’s rights in the 1960’s.
Mind you, this was not Milo’s first performance involving risk. This Swiss artist and psychologist, has been performing controversial nude public art for years. In 2014, she rode a bus naked (painted with names of clothing items where they are supposed to go on a body) during Art Basel in Switzerland and stood naked outside an art museum in Cologne, Germany painting a white sheet red with paint-filled eggs stashed inside her vagina.
Although, the concept of her routine – which she has also taken to Dusseldorf and Amsterdam – was to promote women’s rights not to be touched, she was arrested in one of the London’s most famous landmarks after inviting strangers to fondle her genitals.
‘In Amsterdam it was very different – they are more free towards sexuality,’ she said.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed officers were called to Trafalgar Square on Sunday evening following a complaint from a member of the public, adding a woman had been charged with outraging public decency.
She appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty. She was fined £750, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £75.