An interactive website and virtual laugh-in for survivors of sexual violence.
The URL: https://laughingweb.space
Visitors to this site that self-identify as survivors of sexual violence are invited to use the website’s interface to record their laughter and join in, no questions asked. To do so, the user presses the “record” button on the site – which will submit their recorded laughter directly to the site’s admin (Erin) for integration into the master laugh-track. Visitors can also listen to previously recorded laughter of other survivors of sexual violence on loop.
I was putting the finishing touches on laughingweb.space during the 2018 hearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a humble, mostly anonymous, non-social media driven sonic monument for survivors. Whether the laughter is sincere or not, there is a lot of research that demonstrates that even going through the mechanics of joy gives some physiological benefit. Laughing can be made in a spirit of hope, of encouragement, or wicked defiance – my hope is that this website might help others experience solidarity and togetherness with other (anonymous) survivors during challenging times.
The site is officially launched on October 3rd, 2018! But I still consider it to be in Beta, because it currently is only fully-functional on Firefox browser and Google Chrome browser. But hey, little steps. Safari is coming up next!
Dedicated to Cheryl L’hirondelle
This project was commissioned by Eastern Bloc (Montreal) on the occasion of their 10th anniversary exhibition. For this exhibition, Eastern Bloc invited the exhibiting media artists to present work while thinking of linkages to Canadian media artists that inspired them when they were young. I’m extremely honored and grateful for the conversations that Cheryl L’hirondelle shared with me while I was developing this project.
When I was just beginning to dabble in media art in art school, the net-based artworks of Cheryl L’hirondelle demonstrated to me the power of combining art with sound and songwriting, community building, and other gestures of solidarity, on the internet. Exposure to her work was meaningful to me – I was looking for examples of other women using their voices with technology. Skawennati is another great artist that was creating participative web works in the late 90s and early 2000s – you can check out her cyberpowwow here.
Special thank you to Kai-Cheng Thom, who with wisdom, grace, and passion guided me through many stages of this work’s development.