Cock Cock… Who's There? (5 stars)

Cock Cock… Who's There?

credit Samira Elagoz

A bold and personal statement of sexual assault

Like many works that grapple with personal experience: in a theatrical context, Cock balances on the line between self-revelation and audience engagement. The danger of reviewing this dissection of performer Samira Elagoz's attempts to deal with her rape lies in any rating becoming an analysis of her experiences rather than the theatricality or, alternatively, ignoring the personal content for a cold discussion of its performance quality.

The format is documentary: Elagoz begins by explaining that, after her rape by a boyfriend, she struggled to approach intimacy with men and, to try to heal herself, decided on using the internet. She interviews friends and family – and at least one male friend exposes a shocking idiocy about what rape might mean to the victim – and dates online, documenting her experiences and meeting a bunch of creepy characters who seems intent on confirming stereotypes about the predatory older male.

It is uncomfortable viewing, not least for the footage of dominant males who explain their philosophies in terms of consent and power without managing to present either charisma or sensitivity: Elagoz's decision to document her encounters is brutal and her flat, neutral tone allows the danger and the strangeness to speak for itself.

Skirting ethical issues and confronting the darkness of a sexualised online culture that assumes consent and hands privilege to the male gaze, Elagoz stares into the abyss of abuse, cataloguing the affronts, the assaults, the lack of compassion in friends and police, the gap between the freedom of the male artist and the woman, but finding solace in her mother and her own defiance. The detached tone only speaks of the anguish, the alienation forced on women by the spiteful details of patriarchal power, and Cock Cock becomes a statement of fierce defiance without ever raising its voice to a shout.

Run ended

Cock, Cock… Who's There?

  • 5 stars

Samira Elagoz in association with From Start to Finnish An award-winning performance about violence and intimacy. Samira Elagoz takes us along on her personal research project across three continents. From online platforms to close encounters, she showcases gender relations in their brutal and wonderful ambivalence and…

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