Adelaide Festival Review: Cock Cock… Who’s There?

Where: AC Arts
When: 28 February – 3 March
Tickets: here

** Trigger warning: sexual assault

Six years ago Samira Elagoz was raped by her then-boyfriend. On her first rape-anniversary, Sam isn’t sure what the next step is. So she she asks her family and friends to join her and create video messages for her, explaining how they feel about her sexual assault. Realising that what was most curious to her was understanding the way that men experience her, Sam begins this project.

Over the course of about 5 years, Sam begins to explore men’s reactions to her. The project is attempting to better understand how men consume her, to look at gendered power dynamics, and to consider these both in the light of female sexuality.

Sam records her interactions with men, strangers. First on Chat Roulette, and later filming her meeting men from Craigslist and Tinder. Over the course of her research, Sam has produced a phenomenal body of work. The chosen video footage highlights the similar ways these men interact with Sam, a stranger. They show off skills, they make the conversation sexual, they try to assert their dominance, but all the while, Sam is in control.

Few of these are polished videos, most are shot on phones, and sure the editing isn’t perfect, but that isn’t the point. These videos are unsettling, and I think it’s because they feel so real. I feel so uneasy, watching Sam interact with these (often strange) men. I worry for her safety, despite her explaining the safety protocols she puts in place. But really, Sam has already found that the danger lies in people close to her, not strangers. Statistics back this up.

Cock Cock… is such a vulnerable exploration of life after sexual assault. Part performance part lecture part video art, it feels like a personal essay on stage. As a member of the audience it feels like I am privy to Sam’s emotional journey following her sexual assault. I can see how she is trying to make sense of what happened to her and how she holds claim to her sexuality.

At the end, Sam offers no conclusion. And there is no clear answer to this. It’s a project that is unsettling and vulnerable, powerful and intimate. It feels generous on Sam’s part to be taking to the world talking about this. But it is important work.

4½ out of 5

Natalie Carfora

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