Anthem (2019 - present)

Sexual assault evidence collection kit exteriors; reproductions of kit interiors: white envelopes, paper bags, clear plastic bags, scans; 8.5”x11”x2” set-up boxes; 8.5”x11” inkjet prints on paper. Photos: Kyle Knodell


Anthem is a comparison of the different sexual assault evidence collection kits or "rape kits" used in each US state. Produced by commercial companies and state agencies, the kits vary in language, content, and form. A kit might contain 7 or 21 steps; it might use legal or medical language (“victim” vs. “patient”) and gendered or gender-neutral terms (“panties” vs “underwear”). As an object, a rape kit is a crucial site where physical experience is transformed into testimony—one that has the power to support or supersede the survivor's own voice. Yet in whose voice, and on whose behalf, does the object speak? Viewers are invited to pick up, handle, and compare the reproductions of the kits' internal contents, which are on display on the shelves in the space.


The research for this work is ongoing. For more information, see summary proposed of research. Versions of Anthem have been displayed at ScultureCenter (2019) and FUTURA (2019).


Press: Osman Can Yerebakan, "The Artist Making Installations Out of Rape Kits," New York Magazine: The Cut, 15 January 2015:

https://www.thecut.com/2019/01/aliza-shvarts-rape-kit-exhibition-is-a-sad-american-picture.html [Anthem.pdf]