FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is a project that utilizes metaphors of planting and harvesting, reaping and sowing, and relies on community contribution to realize the labor/gift cycle of the work. It is a simple project that involves filling specially-made packets with a handful of hyacinth seeds to be given away during an exhibition.

Forgiveness exhibition materia, 2009
Forgiveness exhibition materia, 2009

I thought about this project as a kind of social action around the idea of forgiveness. The hyacinth flower is historically the traditional flower of forgiveness. During the exhibition of the work, 10,000 seed packets filled with the ‘seeds of forgiveness’ were made available in the museum for people to take as a gift in order to plant in their own gardens or to give away to others.

Forgiveness, exhibition, 2009
Forgiveness, exhibition, 2009

An initial five thousand packets were filled by volunteers prior to the exhibition in a workspace where participants were asked to meditate on the idea of forgiveness while completing their labor.

Forgiveness, seed packet, 2009
Forgiveness, seed packet, 2009

The project had a live performative component as well. Community members volunteered for 30-60 minute shifts within the installation during the times that the museum was open to the public. The assigned task was to simply sit in the space and methodically fill seed packets, placing them in a pile behind the volunteer.

Forgiveness, participants, 2010
Forgiveness, participants, 2010

I asked these volunteers to also meditate on the idea of forgiveness and how that resonated within their own lives. They were asked to work silently and without contact or acknowledgement of museum patrons and visitors. The packets they filled were immediately available for people to take from the space.

Forgiveness, exhibition, 2009
Forgiveness, exhibition, 2009

 

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