Photo above by Malc Stone
I was also delighted to be included in the magazines above. The cover-image for GEM (left) with a fascinating article by Sean Curran about queer art in museums and in ‘Et Alors?’ (right and viewable on-line here) which is just out I was really pleased to finally share the above picture taken by the hugely talented Malc Stone. The piece in this pioneering magazine helps spread the message of The Pansy Project and this image which I think is marvellous and may lead to further opportunities with Malc Stone in the future. For me the pansy placed in my mouth in this context powerfully communicates my intention with the project and expresses the mood of it quite succinctly. It will certainly be the cover of the Pansy Project Publication, which though slow going is coming together, I am still working on it and I’m aiming to get it ready for the spring. It will have some fascinating contributors and new images of planted pansies. The Pansy Project website has recently been thoroughly updated with a full archive of the plantings, videos, and press articles and feels very much more polished than before.
One of the many highlights of my recent trip to Graz in Austria for Truth is Concrete was meeting all the lovely participants and assistants there. Everyone was so welcoming and engaging. I was also pleased to be accompanied by Richard Reynolds, we shared the same stage early one Sunday morning discussing our respective attitudes to Guerrilla Gardening. Richard kindly offered to document the planting later that day. The above is what he produced and it really is a joy. The video captures both the joy and fun of planting pansies in the street and also the poignancy and effects of The Pansy Project. Well worth a watch and a share simply for the quirky music choices and and the lovely Austrian light, it is delightful. So a huge thanks to Richard for taking time out of his busy schedule to make this video.
Christoph Hartner indicating our next location
|The pansy above was planted at Caritas which is a catholic funded organisation that dismisses employees who are discovered to be gay.|
On Sunday I was delighted to contribute to Fritz Haeg's element of 'Wide Open School' at Hayward Gallery: "The Sundown Schoolhouse of Queer Home Economics invites the local queer community to our temporary HQ for an on-going dialog about 'making ourselves at home' with casual and programmed conversing, cooking, crafting, debating, decorating, demonstrating, discussing, dishing, eating, exercising, hanging out, lecturing, moving, performing, reading, speechifying, talking, teaching, and workshopping related to LGBTQ home-making (inspired by the program of ‘home economics’ developed in the 19th century to educate young women in domestic duties). As a place to queer our ideas of home, it is based in the very queer home of an intimate geodesic dome tent (above) installed over a seating platform and conversation pit surrounded by fruit trees on the rooftop terrace of the Hayward Gallery for their pre-Olympics Wide Open School Program.
"Support International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia. The inaugural launch of IDAHO 50 on May 17th 2012 will be a high profile and visible display of action against homophobia & transphobia on Merseyside. The first city to create, participate & engage in IDAHO 50. Homotopia has collaborated with 50 Merseyside companies & organisations who will mark the day by flying a rainbow flag, or create a visual statement with an artist on the day"
"Can you feel me now, lad?" with beating, Progress Place, Liverpool - Alternate View
Pansies were planted in a rectangular plot in St Luke’s Church Yard, the plot though unremarkable in its appearance represents months of meetings and organising by Homotopia and The Merseyside Probation Trust.
Participants in the ‘Community Payback’ scheme helped plant the pansies on site on May 17th, (above) though not specifically linked to homophobic hate crime the people who took part represented society’s determination to challenge unacceptable behaviour, The Pansy Project in this context reflects an element of society that is affected by crime and chooses to challenge it in a very different way. The ‘Community Payback’ team built planters that were placed around Liverpool and filled with pansies for IDAHO, this action represents an interesting development of The Pansy Project's social engagement, something that I am currently researching for the forthcoming publication on The Pansy Project.
On May 17th representatives of Liverpool council such as the Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast who helped plant pansies on site, (above myself with two LGBT Liverpool councillors; Cllr Louise Baldock and Cllr Gary Millarand the Lord Mayor) this ritual of planting with dignataries has become a significant and symbolic act that emphasises the ritulaistic nature of The Pansy Project and its ability to mould itself into various forms. Below left to right; The Lord Mayor's consort and daughter; Lesley, Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergrast, Anne Pakula Head of Operations at Merseyside Probation Trust, Gary Everett (Homotopia) and myself speaking at the event.
It seems at this point The Pansy Project is being assimilated by other organisations and interpreted in different ways. This does not always reflect my own aesthetic but does reflect the issues The Pansy Project endeavours to confront in planting pansies at the site of homophobic abuse. In effect this outside activity in my opinion strengthens the community engagement of the work I do. As ever I also planted pansies at the site of incidents of homophobic abuse (pictured top) and it this element of the project that operates as the core or skeleton of my work. It is this activity that has enabled me to communicate with other disciplines, in this case the justice system and IDAHO which helps highlight the global phenomenon of homophobia in all its manifestations. After the event the participants chatted over tea and biscuits at a nearby cafe.....
A special thanks to all that helped facilitate The Pansy Project in Liverpool for IDAHO 50. Further documentation of the days events will be coming soon....
As ever my research continues, also coming soon, news of The Pansy Project being interpreted in another way during IDAHO 2012...