The Pansy Project

I know this blog has ‘flowers’ in its title but I didn’t originally intend it to be so nature-orientated. I like that it’s turning out that way though. There seems to be an intuitive response to violence which places nature at the heart of peaceful activism. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, yes, I am slow to catch on! 🙂 Despite Cary’s piece and the very title of this blog, I am only now getting the point; in the symbiotic relationship between something as delicate as a flower and something as delicate as a person maybe we can begin to see how in doing violence to others we also do violence to ourselves.

I was reading this morning (via twitter, of course :-)) about The Pansy Project.  Artist, Paul Harfleet, plants pansies at the site of homophobic abuse. Each piece is photographed and named after the abuse received.From Paul’s website:

The website enables the images of the ephemeral acts to be collated and presented to a wide audience who can then vicariously explore the nature of the incidents. The juxtaposition of the images of the delicate flowers placed in derelict urban settings with frequently offensive and hurtful abuse creates a complex anthology of homophobic verbal abuse as experienced by gay people in towns and cities today. The humble planted pansy becomes a record; a trace of this public occurrence which is deeply personal and concurrently available to the public on the city streets and on-line.

When verbal homophobic abuse is experienced the assailant forces the unwilling participant to assimilate and respond to this public verbal attack; ignore or retaliate? The Pansy Project acts as a formula which prevents the ‘victim’ from internalising the incident, the strategy becomes a conceptual shield; a behaviour that enables the experience to be processed via the public domain in this case the location where the incident occurred and latterly the website which collates and presents the incidents and operates as a virtual location of quiet resistance.

You can get regular updates from the Pansy Project blog and also on twitter. Facebook recently deleted the Pansy Project page on their site although no-one is exactly sure why. At the minute you can join a ‘Bring It Back!’ group to show your support.

Many thanks to Quiet Riot Girl for bringing this to my attention.

Oh, and my Mum’s favourite flower is the pansy so hello to her too! X


2 responses to “The Pansy Project

  1. this is beyond lovely–true trauma work done so artfully. I especially apprectiate the explanation of homophobic attacks & what they seek to do to the victim. Brilliant stuff.


  2. It’s just so lovely to stumble upon something like this isn’t it? Has made my day really. x

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