‘I Pledge’ Presentation, by Jasmeen Patheja (Blank Noise)
Safe City Pledge has been initiated by Blank Noise in India.
Safe City Pledge calls for a 360 degree approach to building safe cities. It creates that space to step outside the blame game and take ownership of sexual violence. The campaign is based on the premise that each citizen has both the power and ability to influence change . Safe City Pledge brings citizens across roles and professions to identify their role towards tackling violence against women and building safe cities.
Hence, what would a school teacher pledge, film maker pledge to construct masculinity and femininity, what would the police pledge? Can the police pledge to work on restoring building public trust ? We see Safe City Pledge as the start of a conversation around ownership and responsibility, accountability. Small Step. Big Change.
Safe City Pledge was initiated in December 2012 by Blank Noise in India, in the midst of public anger, protests and outrage after the Delhi Gang Rape. On January 1st , 2013 citizens from different walks of life and organisations, across 12 cities in India mobilised fellow citizens to take the Safe City Pledge. Since then #SafeCityPledge has built tweetathons, facilitated workshops in schools, colleges and work environments.
Blank Noise(http://blog.blanknoise.org), a nation wide volunteer aka ‘Action Hero’ led community arts collective committed to building dialogue and ownership towards the issue of street sexual violence
Blank Noise was initiated in 2003, in Bangalore, India, as a final thesis project at Srishti School of Art Design and Technology at a time when street sexual violence was a non issue and being dismissed off as merely ‘eve teasing’; that which is normal, everyday, expected and accepted. BN is a growing community of volunteers also known as ‘Action Heroes’, from across cities and towns in India. Action Heroes are both male and female and from across age groups and background. Action Heroes work set new rules for public behaviour; they reject attitudes of shame blame and guilt around sexual violence. They affirm “ I Never Ask For It ”. Action Heroes claim citizenship. They tackle the fear based relationship they have been encouraged to have with their cities, by instead asserting their presence in public spaces. They are committed to unlearning fear, warnings, biases that are also rooted in gender and class.
BN creates discourse around the range of public interactions (flirting to sexual violence) and practices a participatory approach to collective definition building and an understanding of the issue.
The collective is built on the lived experiences of its participants. Testimonials are collected and dispersed back in the public via a series of interventions. BN attempts to bring to dialogue the ‘spectator’, ‘survivor’ and potential ‘aggressor’ of street sexual violence
Blank Noise Action Hero chapters have been formed in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Tokyo.
Blank Noise builds events / actions on the internet and on the streets of various cities. The collective works with a range of media ; live actions, web (facebook, blogger, twitter, tumblr) posters, t shirts, videos, installation, sound, live actions, stickers, stencils, text, live discussions.
Blank Noise events include Talk To Me (2012), Hahaha Sangha 2012, Being Idle (2007- ongoing) , Y R U LOOKING AT ME (2005-2008), campaign Safe City Pledge (2012-2013), I Never Ask For It (relaunch 2014) , Blogathon 2006, Museum of Street Weapons of Defense (2008).
Blank Noise has been shared at Cornerhouse (Manchester), Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), Bronx Museum of Arts( NYC) , Chiyoda 3331 (Tokyo) Max Mueller Bhavan (Bangalore). In 2012, the collective was awarded the Citizen Journalist award by CNN IBN.
Blank Noise will is currently working towards relaunching campaign to tackle blame (2014), “I Never Ask For It”.