Hot News / Taaza Samachar
Hot News / Taaza Samachar (Hindi for "fresh news") is a video
performance based on local newspaper reports of sexual violence from
August-November 2003. The video was created in the early phase of Blank
Noise which examined public attitudes towards kinds of sexual violence
ranging from 'eve-teasing' to rape.
Eve Teasing is experienced by women on the streets of
their cities everyday (comments, stalking, touching, groping, flashing
at, rubbing against, whistling, staring at body parts) and is dismissed
as a joke, as something boys do for 'fun.' Information about rape is
communicated via news reportage and often distances the recipient of
this information from the event itself.
The narrative created in the process of reporting rape in the news media
perpetuates a victim-perpetrator stereotype. Because we expect to read
headlines that say "woman raped," the news fails to outrage us until soon
enough another rape "story" shocking enough to be part of the headlines
is reported. Only a few of the reported rapes become newsworthy. Some
stories live in public memory, taking the form of gossip. This kind
of narrative reinforces the image of women as victim and men as a
species to be feared. It is in the repetition of reports that Hot News /
Taaza Samachar questions both the passive consumption of receiving and
delivering information about sexual violence.