Site: Brigade Road
Nature: Cosmopolitan/ Market/ Crowded.Busy/
Actors: Blank Noise Action Heroes
Date/ Time: 12th Nov- 5 pm to 7 pm
How would you react if you were walking down the street and saw women just standing, hanging around, and not waiting.
How would you react if each of these women looked at you, and it was not an invitation?
Women present on the road were handed a letter that bore a testimonial of street sexual harassment. The letter was also an invite to participate in the Blank Noise intervention, ‘One Night Stand.’
One of the letters said:
Who we are, where we go, what we wear, how we sit, stand, talk, walk in our very own cities. When we demand the need to make our cities non threatening , I don't expect anyone to think of me as their sister or mother, but to really look at women as citizens who have every right to be out on the streets, without any explanation. Sometimes we just love to walk, stand around, hang around, without looking 'available.'
If you know what I mean, come and stand with me by the railing between 5 30 and 6 30 pm.
Some women responded and we gradually saw the nature of the street transforming as more they joined in.
The public passing by gradually took to notice that ‘something’ was going on. The Action Heroes re configured themselves by standing closer and looking at every passerby,
Soon they were looking as a collective and being looked back and looking at being looked back.
Towards the end there was a crowd watching the Action Heroes watch. Ofcourse, some present in the public could not but help feel and show that they were challenged/ threatened in the eye game.
Not a word exchanged. Who ever said, but it was only a ‘look’?
Action Heroes report:
I thought the action on Sunday night was a terrific success. When we lined the railings in front of the arcade, most people who passed through noticed the change. They may not have realized exactly what was going on, but they could at least tell that something was different. Men in particular would often look back two or three times with a confused glance. I liked the subtlety of that -- no big signs or posters, but a noticeable shift in the gender dynamic of the area. I also personally enjoyed the freedom of staring and glaring back at the men who passed. And while standing in the center of the sidewalk passing out letters, I enjoyed being stationary while other people had to shift around me. I hadn't realized how much I normally skirt around men -- to make room for them and avoid colliding into them -- and it felt good to force them to move around me.- Sujata Bhat
As an individual I must say that it definitely helped. I don't know if I'll be able to go back there tomorrow evening and do the same thing that we did yesterday. But what I do know is that I can afford to have a little more faith in mankind. Because even as I stood there, between two guys, they did absolutely nothing. I got a few stares, sure, but I realised that men will look. It's how you react to it that matters. Am I going to look down and let it get to me? Or am I going to stare right back and let them know how exactly it makes me feel? I've realised also that we don't need to go around beating up men for staring. All we've got to do is let them know that they don't scare us, and that we don't like it.- Sanjana Janardhan
Since it was my first time, it was a mixture of a lot of things... the project was extremely interesting and it felt good to stand up for our rights and do somethin bout wats not right instead of just criticising bout everything thats wrong with the world!- Shreya Sajankila
Blank Noise Project thanks
- Radio One and Anjaan
- Radio City and Vasanthi Hari Prakash/ Anjana
- Smriti Chanchani for taking the photographs
shashikala, Nishanthi Makkam, Parineeta, shreya, krutika, Payal Kamat, Nisrin Aziz, Yamini Deen, Ratna Apnender, Manju Ramanan, Kadambari Kapor, Anupama Vadnagra, Soumya C Shekhar, Smriti Chanchani, Archana Srinivasan, Sujata Bhat, Tharuna Balan, Madhurya Balan, Anusree M Jois....
Dev Sukumar, Krishanu, Kris, Prasad, Rama Krishna, Abhiji Rai, Kailash Jodatti, karthik subbaraman