31-Mar-2007

BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

The Pansy Project recently featured at the BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. An installation of 3000 pansies was situated along the Southbank; pansies occupied the newly renovated landscaping outside the Southbank Centre; initially appearing to be commonplace municipal planting the pansies began to delineate bins, bollards and bench legs from the Hungerford Bridge to Waterloo Bridge where the London Lesbian & Gay film Festival was housed at the BFI Southbank. This subtle intervention ascribed the paraphernalia placed along this famous promenade with unexpected poignancy, as the symbolism of the pansy is revealed the playful positioning makes way for an elegiac memorial.
The image above was created for the BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival by Nadege Meriau and features the pansy planted by Paul Harfleet for David Morley who was tragically killed* on the South Bank in 2004 after surviving the Admiral Duncan bombing. This collaboration between artist and photographer has created a beautiful image that enhances the original concept of cultural endurance thus making it an appropriate symbol for the festival as a whole.
*Though widely believed to be an attack motivated by homophobia a subsequent court case found the accused not guilty of homophobic murder but of manslaughter. The pansy was planted on the Southbank as a memorial to David Morley.

Pansy! For David Morley

Here are some more images of the installation. Above the thin pink line of pansies outside Southbank Centre, over the next few days they will come into full bloom. The installation appears to be surviving the wind and cold weather, many people have voiced concerns about the pansies in these temperatures; they will be fine, I have known them to thrive after being covered by inches of snow.
The small tree, above and below stands out along the Southbank and looks wonderful with the pansies surounding it as does the bin; for me it is the oddness of the bins and bollards being trimmed with pansies that transforms the municipal planting plan into an artwork.

Pansy Give Away

On Sunday April 1st I manned a stall of pansies placed alongside the book stalls near to BFI Southbank. From 12pm – 4pm I was on hand to distribute the flowers and chat about The Pansy Project to interested passers by. In donating the flowers to the general public, the pansies were transformed into symbols of resistance against homophobic violence. When planted in private gardens to window boxes the pansies have become entwined with the meaning attached to them, thus creating an anecdotal messenger of acceptance.

It was a lovely day, a huge thanks to all those that took the pansies and promised to give them a good home, and thanks to my lovely family volunteers who helped give out 1000 pansies to the interested passers by.

Guerrilla Gardeners

The Guerrilla Gardeners are a network of volunteers who tend to abandoned council roundabouts under the cover of darkness. Headed in the UK by Richard Reynolds (Above) the Guerrilla Gardeners where the ideal candidates to adopt some of the left over pansies after they were used on the Southbank. A huge thanks to Richard and his volunteers who helped install the pansies and relocate them in permanent bedding in London (Below) and in Portsmouth. Photos courtesy of Gavin Kingcome.

BFI Southbank Pansies

The pansies have been blooming in the recent good weather, and pleasingly they have not been damaged or stolen whilst the installation is up.

News

Here's a link to an ASAP article about the Pansy Project featuring a podcast interview LINK and more news HERE, HERE, and another interview here on Artshub.

24-Mar-2007

Southbank Centre - 100 Ideas

I am participating in the 100 ideas series at Southbank Centre; on Sunday March 25th 2-4pm I will be on a panel that will use the 21st BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and The Pansy Project as a catalyst for discussion, we will explore issues surrounding gay cruising and the sexuality of the city, the modern flanuer or dandy in the context of psychogeography and the persistent threat of homophobic violence and what this reveals about the condition of contemporary masculinity. For more information and to book a free space click here.

The event described above took place yesterday, (image below, from left to right, Raymond Rogers (The Metropolitan Police) Paul Harfleet, Jonathan Keane (LLGFF) and Olivier Meyrou (Director of Beyond Hatred). Thanks to all those that came and contributed to what at times was a moving exploration of the issues that The Pansy Project and the film Beyond Hatred explores. It was great that the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival working together with Southbank Centre were able to facilitate the discussion. More information on the event here.

23-Mar-2007

The Queen's Walk

I am continuing to plant pansies across the site at the Southbank. It is freezing and interesting as many people stop and ask me what I'm up to. It's always slightly sad as I can see the realisation cross the face of the public when I reveal that I am memorialising homophobia. The reaction has so far been very favourable to the project. Frequently people pass and simply thank me for my efforts possibly not aware of The Pansy Project and what it symbolises. Today I planted the above; it seemed appropriate to plant the pansies at the sign; enjoyable how the pansies re-contextualize the sign.
During the process of installing the pansies I had to tweek the original design due to works occurring on the Southbank that surrounded particular trees, this was not too much of a problem as I was able to plant pansies around other trees. Since then the works have moved on to the alternative trees; as you can see above the pansies are now 'enshrined' within these works, they also nestle underneath the temporary book stalls that have been constructed around the pansies placed around bollards (photos to follow). To me this is a fascinating demonstration of the urban 'machine' that forges ahead with apparent disregard of the complexities of human experience. Thus echoing the homophobia The Pansy Project marks. Homophobia itself distributed by the thoughtless who show no regard for the 'victims' they attack and subsequently the attacked are forced into disconnection from the assailants and the urban environment they inhabit.

19-Mar-2007

Southbank Installation

3000 pansies have been place at various locations on the Southbank from Hungerford Bridge all the way up to BFI Southbank. The pansies create a thin pink line in the flower beds outside Southbank Centre and then are used to delineate bins (as above) bollards (below), benches and trees. A huge thanks to all the wonderful volunteers; the guerilla gardeners, the BFI volunteers and my special family helpers. They assisted throughout the day braving the sleet, snow, rain and wind.

"Pansies will occupy the newly renovated landscaping outside the Southbank Centre; initially appearing to be commonplace municipal planting the pansies will begin to delineate bins, bollards and bench legs from the Hungerford Bridge to Waterloo Bridge where the London Lesbian & Gay film Festival is housed at the BFI Southbank"

Quote taken from the above statement, more images will follow soon.

16-Mar-2007

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10-Mar-2007

3000 pansies

Above the 3000+ pansies that have been supplied and are being cared for by Downs Views Nurseries in Chichister. The pansies have large dark pink blooms, they're going to look amazing on the Southbank. I've confirmed the design for the installation and I am going to be manning a stall on the Southbank outside the BFI next to the existing book stalls on Sunday April 1st, there'll be more details here soon.

The Poster Campaign

The posters for the 21st BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival are all over the London tube. It is interesting that people rush by the posters as you'd expect, not realising the symbolism of the image. I like the similarity this has with the pansies I plant in their location and the fact that their meaning goes initially unnoticed.