Sunday, February 04, 2007

A message from blank noise

For those of you who dont know wat BlankNoise is, its an organisation formed to voice out against the day to day issues women undergo, the sensitive ones, in particular. This is the mail i received from blanknoise reg their latest project. and a humble request to those who are reading this blog. Please do not stop here, Go on...


Last year just before March 8, International Women's Day, Blank Noise set up a blog-a-thon , linking all of you and many other readers not on our mailing list, to each other through a particularly sensitive and private subject - the re-telling of experiences of street sexual harassment. We thought the solidarity in numbers, the anonymity the Internet offers and the significance of the day itself might allow some people to tell stories they had never told before. We expected some thoughtful stories, some provocative ones, some that would disturb and stay with us, perhaps forever.

But we did not expect over 240 deeply personal testimonials to come rushing out. We did not expect 131 comments on a single post. We did not expect the media to pick it up the way they did, with coverage ranging from regional to international.
This March 8, we're hoping to take the journey begun last year one step forward. We've heard each other's testimonials, now let's share each other's actions. On March 8, 2007, Blank Noise launches an Action Heroes website, which collects no 'victim' testimonials, no stories of bit-back hurt, no stories of indifferent onlookers.

This archives and builds your testimonials of a situation where you emerged as the hero! This space will launch with the stories of action plans. Give us your strategies. Your interventions. The time when you subverted a situation, flipped it on its head and gave the 'perpetrator' no chance but to stop what he was doing. Give us your success story. Tell us which action hero you are. We will post strategies and interventions from eight countries up on our brand new space on International Women's Day.

We're also looking for volunteers to help on this project:
1) Technical support to construct the website
2)Volunteers to collect strategies from those who cannot access the Internet or cannot write: either writing down what they say, translating and/or recording audio (if anyone has a problem accessing recording equipment, we can help)
3)Media outreach

Please email us if you can think you can help out: this is a two-month project only and we could do with all hands on board! Especially with reaching out to people who might not be on the Internet or able to write....

We will have lots more details for you when you email , the words "march 8 volunteer" in the subject line.And of course, start writing straight away! A sample piece along with guidelines is attached as a PDF file to this email.Hope to hear back soon!

The Blank Noise team

Here is the content of the PDF they had sent:

Here are some brief guidelines for what we're looking for, from Action Heroes:
The action heroes blog is separate from the kind of testimonial space we created on March 8
last year - it is about coping and strategising when you've been harassed. Have you ever
turned the tables and established a completely different relationship with the perpetrator thus
ending the harassment?
Like Jasmeen, who started the Blank Noise Project in 2003, often photographs men who
stare at her or act lewd, thus quickly flipping power relations and actions.
Like Atreyee Day, who described an effective way she’d coped in Kolkata, with this incident:
The blog isn't launched yet. It will be when you send in your strategies and those that you've
been able to collect.
But essentially, we're asking for:
How different women have coped with street sexual harassment/ or dealt with it by turning the
tables around.
In Atreyee's case the man in question shifted from being a lewd perpetrator to someone a bit
more vulnerable, who shared his childhood instead - and it happened because
1. She looked beyond the harassment
2. She developed her own strategy
Tell us about the situation that didn't cow you down. Which action hero are you? Send us a
post marked 'action hero' to and include a brief description of
which Action Hero you see yourself as.
We're asking for the description of any circumstance you’ve encountered that you haven’t
felt cowed down or overwhelmed by; one in which you perhaps spontaneously ‘strategised’ to
overcome harassment. We're asking for which Action Hero you relate to; it could be one
specific to your culture... it could be G-Girl. We're asking for a photograph of you – we won't
put up your name. Send us an audio clip if you can – that'd be perfect.
Why this name? Blank Noise?
Blank: no form, no meaning.
Noise: heightens, builds, breaks form.

Blank Noise put together are two words that contradict themselves.
We experience eve teasing daily. It is a sexual violation but we ignore it. At the same time, we
structure our lives to avoid the occurrence of it - by 'dressing decently', 'coming back home on
time', etc, thereby making unwanted rules for ourselves and not recognizing ourselves as

When? Where? How? Why?

Blank Noise was initiated in August 2003 by Jasmeen Patheja from Bangalore and a small
group of 9 participants, all girls. Over the years it has expanded to four metro cities and over
100 volunteers.

We don't believe that one policy change or one street intervention, or one media report can
change the world. We have to address the issue from multiple avenues over a period of time.
Eve teasing is a societal issue, has its roots in patriarchy, reflects in films and in our popular

We are proposing to initiate a transformation, start the dialogue, through recurring public
events, public participation and collaborations. We are looking at communicating, through
participation, with policy-makers, as well.

Blank Noise is interventionist, and critically reflective of the issue. It seeks to confront, and
create communities through public art. Blank Noise works with people through performance,
blogging, and street interventions.

This is a public art project seeking to address eve teasing. There are several ways to address
an issue and we choose the language of public and community art.


Shiv said...

Nice initiative!!

athia said...

Thx Shiv..