Homotopia Liverpool 07

The Pansy Project at Homotopia:
'Memorial to the Unnamed', St John's Gardens, 29th Oct-Nov19th
'Pansy Giveaway', Church Street, Liverpool 12-4pm Nov 18th
More information below..

Pansy Give Away } Homotopia

On Sunday 18th November as part of the Homotopia Festival I hosted the ‘Pansy Giveaway’: I was on Church Street in the centre of Liverpool distributing pansies and chatting about the project to interested passers by. The ‘Pansy Giveaway’ enables the public to become involved in the project. By symbolically planting pansies either at the site of homophobic experience or in window boxes/garden borders. The pansy is imbued with significance altering the ordinary activity of planting a flower as a way to offer support to The Pansy Project and the homophobia it comments on. Thanks to all the helpers and to the people who took a pansy to plant. photos Maureen Ward.


Mount Pleasant, Liverpool

"Fucking Faggot!" Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, planted for Robbie-Lee Valentine
The pansy above was planted on November 9th 2007, proving that in Liverpool today homophobia is as present as ever. Though relativley minor compared to a physical attack this planting represents the persistant reality of contemporary gay experience making the 'Memorial to the Unnamed' (detailed below) all the more poignant.

Homotopia TV

Above is an Interview for Homotopia TV; an on-line TV Channel which is part of the Homotopia Festival you can see clips relating to other events that are part of the festival at homotopia.tv

Memorial to the Unnamed

For the Homotopia Festival I have planted 2000 pansies in St John’s Gardens. Historically the park is a site for what is widely believed to be a homophobically motivated murder. This temporary installation’s title; ‘Memorial to the Unnamed’ releases the work from specificities, freeing it to act as a symbolic memorial for all who have experienced homophobically motivated hate crime.

The installation’s title also has military connotations which reflect the significance of the park as a site of impressive permanent monuments: public memorials to the heroism of those lost in battle. In this context the pansy’s transient and subtle intervention into this domain explores the disparity between the cultural memorialisation of those lost fighting for their country and the official invisibility of queer citizens killed on the streets of Liverpool and beyond. ‘Memorial to the Unnamed’ aims to instigate debate surrounding the nature of heteronormativity.

(photo above Maureen Ward)


Memorial to the Unnamed

A huge Thanks to all at Homotopia, Merseyside Police and to the lovely volunteers who helped install the flowers. More photos will follow soon.
Some online press here and here.

Memorial to the Unnamed } Ponderings

‘Memorial to the Unnamed’ (left) planted in a straight line dissecting the park. The line goes from the formal gates of the park ‘slicing’ through the lawn and formal planting of the park, though the paving and ivy planted around the formal planting stays intact. This refers to the complex hetronormative society that the park represents. The row of pansies appear to weave up and down through the park occasionally rupturing the architecture of the park and at other times surrendering to the infrastructure of the park. This metaphorical delineation both acts as a symbolic military front and as an arrow that highlights the location of the incident that occurred in the park. The line ends at a bench suggesting that the viewer sit and contemplate the nature of the work and the park the work is situated in.

Memorial to the Unnamed { Background

The location for the installation I am planning for Homotopia has been confirmed I have gained permission from the correct sources and will be installing the pansies in time for the launch of Homotopia 2007. The 2000 pansies will be placed in St Johns Gardens in central Liverpool. The installation marks the location of a what is widely believed to be a homophobically motivated murder. The recent Stormbreak Report acknowledges the reality of homophobia in Liverpool and the tendency we have not to report verbal homophobia to the police. Stormbreak confirms that generally the community chooses not to take this crime seriously enough to report it and see verbal abuse as just a reality of gay life. The police do not corroborate this and are keen for it to be reported to them so they can allocate the correct resources to addressing this problem and the insidious effect it can have on LGBT people.
The location of The Pansy Project installation is of great significance to Liverpool the park is filled with memorial sculptures, plaques and statues that permanently mark the loss of life in world wars. For me the temporary nature of the pansy installation will contrast well with the more permanent memorials placed throughout the park. During the festival I will be maintaining the pansies in their location and will be distributing pansies to the public so they can participate in making a symbolic planting themselves whether it be in a window box or lawn border each pansy will continue to remind each recipient that as a culture we do not need to accept verbal and physical aggression from a small minority of a heterosexual majority. If you live in Liverpool and would like to plant a pansy to mark your own experience of abuse then e-mail: thepansyproject@aol.com

Paper at Tate Liverpool

A paper on The Pansy Project by Maureen Ward recently featured in Tate Liverpool’s Research Forum; ‘The Art of Protest: Art, Activism and Oppositionality’. Using the Turner Prize 2007 shortlist as a starting point, the postgraduate research forum explored "political" artwork and asked of the participants whether the crisis of political engagement has left a vacuum that people turn to art to fill? For further background on the Installation see below. For a full transcript click here.