I have just returned from Graz in Austria, where I was invited to attend Steirischer Herbst an annual festival in Graz, Austria: “Truth is concrete” was an element of this with a 24/7 marathon camp on artistic strategies in politics and political strategies in art. 21/09 – 28/09/2012. Do have a look at their website and explore the other great artists and activities that are happening there. click HERE.
I was asked to speak at “Truth is Concrete” about The Pansy Project also on the program was Guerrilla Gardener and author Richard Reynolds alongside Katherine Ball who was/is inhabiting the ‘Blog Tower’ during the festival. The talk raised some interesting questions regarding the nature of our varying strategies and it was interesting to publicly speak with Richard Reynolds in this context of activism and politics as we were able to examine and explore our common ground. "Truth is Concrete” also invited participants of the festival to accompany me around Graz planting pansies at the site of homophobia, a large group joined Richard Reynolds and I planting pansies and discussing The Pansy Project, Guerilla Gardening and Graz. There is a selection of photos on Flickr documenting the tour click here to see them, there will be more coverage to follow.
Christoph Hartner indicating our next location
As is the norm, my intention was to plant pansies at the site of homophobic abuse, there was however a lack of information regarding high profile homophobic attacks. Thankfully I was contacted by Christoph Hartner who was able to research particular locations of historical significance in Graz through his contacts from the area. What was garnered was a selection of locations of historical and autobiographical significance. As ever, the strategy of planting pansies acts as a symbolic proposition in cities that I visit only briefly. What I leave is a memory of the action; some pansies may survive, though on this occasion one pansy has already been removed and paved over; perhaps a comment on Graz’s efficiency rather than a comment on the nature of The Pansy Project.
|The pansy above was planted at Caritas which is a catholic funded organisation that dismisses employees who are discovered to be gay.|