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Safety in Numbers

Design for Social Change / Mixed Media

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The Project

Beginning on February 18th, 2019, twenty-four mirrors are hung throughout men’s and women’s restroom stalls on Missouri Southern State University's campus. In the restroom stalls’ privacy, a poster invites students, faculty, staff and guests to leave a mark if they have ever experienced threats, harassment, sexual assault or rape. Women’s restrooms are provided a red marker and men’s restrooms are provided a black marker. The mirrors are observed and photographed weekly for comparison until their uninstallation on March 15th, 2019.

Eight locations’ mirrors fill with marks during the four week installation period. Three mirrors fill within the first four days of interaction. To allow these locations to continue gathering marks, laminated pages are substituted for the filled mirrors. Two of the eight locations are filled twice. These locations are on their third surface by the end of Week 4 with additional pages added by participants.

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Several mirrors’ marks are removed by participants or vandalized throughout the installation. (All serious marks are rewritten to ensure their representation in the exhibit.) Two mirrors receive consistent removed marks and vandalism. One mirror is discovered broken and the other is stolen during Week 4. (Both mirrors are replaced and replicated to appear in the exhibit.) These negative interactions are few in comparison to the serious marks observed, and nearly all vandalism is held accountable by other participants.

Thank You

I would like to thank the participants of the installation for their engagement and trust. I acknowledge that this part of your story is difficult and I am grateful for your willingness to share your experience. If you are struggling, please find community in the marks of your peers and reach out to available resources, friends or family members. You are not alone.

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