The Pansy Project Garden
Above an axonometric illustration of the final design of the garden, a collaborative drawing by Myself and Tom Harfleet, and an image of the completed design.
Below is a description of The Pansy Project Garden with illustrations and a slide show revealing the whole process from design to completion.
The Pansy Project is an ongoing conceptual artwork that memorialises homophobic hate crimes, from verbal homophobic abuse to homophobically motivated murders; artist Paul Harfleet plants individual pansies to mark these locations of abuse. At the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July 2010 The Pansy Project Garden will feature in the ‘Conceptual Garden’ category.
This challenging conceptual garden will combine the languages of horticulture and sculpture to metaphorically present the concepts ‘The Pansy Project’ explores to an audience outside of the projects usual context. This ‘infiltration’ of the relative conservatism associated with the traditional ‘Flower Show’ continues the theme of cultural subversion artist Paul Harfleet is fascinated with. In subverting the garden with a ‘disguised’ political agenda the artist hopes to encourage the visiting public to consider the ideas the artist has spent the last five exploring in the projects various incarnations, from notions of psychogeography, memorialisation, citizenship and the political ownership of public space.
The design of the garden is a first time collaboration with garden designer and brother of the artist Tom Harfleet, which in itself suggests a shared familial position against homophobic hate crime which enriches the reading of the garden yet further. The brothers have used their allocated five by ten metre plot to construct a confrontational concrete structure which references the pavement of the city; where the majority of The Pansy Projects activity takes places. The dramatic ‘shattered’ form reflects the disruptive nature of these crimes and has been influenced by the impact earthquakes have on the built environment. The slabs of concrete will be placed at various extreme gradients and will be under planted with a total of four thousand pansies. In the context of The Pansy Project the pansy has come to represent a quiet form of resistance to hate crime with each plant becoming a single device to transform a location from one of crime to one of quiet activism and memorialisation a significance which the design of the garden fully embraces. The garden in this context acts as a metaphorical memorial to the victims of homophobic hate crime and helps promote the notion that this form of crime is something that should not be tolerated in contemporary society.