paul harfleet, one of my adopted young boffins (or have they perhaps adopted me?) and contemporary flaneurs, is the creator of the pansy project, which revisits locations where homophobia has been experienced and plants pansies there. originally an autobiographical artwork, it has developed into a series of site specific installations and participatory events, commissioned as far afield as berlin, london and new york, distinguished for their fragile yet powerful tactics for navigating or walking the contemporary landscape.
its latest incarnation is a large scale intervention in city centre liverpool, for the festival homotopia, and a paper was very recently presented at the liverpool tate exploring some of the background and history of the project against the backdrop of the art institution and socially engaged practice: a transcript of which can be read by following this link: http://thepansyproject.blogspot.com/2007/10/paper-at-tate-liverpool.html
there is a very different conversation to be had inside the art academy from the one in the process, or as paul put it to me recently, ‘in the world’ rather than apart from it. the pansy project has so far interested me on a conceptual level, one rather abstracted from the effect it has in terms of participatory engagement, so it is good to be reminded of the direct, visceral, emotional responses it evokes when the process, the artwork, is created or performed. last weekend was something of a revelation for an observer such as myself when the principles, concepts and theoretical framework that i have been carefully considering fell away under the phenomenological power of the intervention at st john’s gardens. http://www.homotopia.net/2007.html
im looking forward to taking some part in next Sunday’s participatory 'conversation'…the pansy hand out, sunday 18 november, 2-4pm, church st.