When Blank Noise was started ten years ago, sexual violence was dismissed as “eve-teasing” – a frivolous, common occurrence, to be expected –and accepted - by women in public spaces. Today, sexual violence is recognized as a serious and deep-rooted social problem in India – but is still common place. Inspired by a course on the ways in which artists and designers can influence social transformation, Jasmeen Patheja started Blank Noise in 2003, as a final thesis project at Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology to change how our society thinks about and acts in relation to sexual violence. Over a ten year period, Blank Noise has grown from being a student led project to being an international network of ‘Action Heroes’: citizens committed to tackling street harassment and to changing public attitudes towards sexual violence.
Vision & Mission
Blank Noise seeks to transform public attitudes towards sexual violence in India.Blank Noise seeks to trigger public dialogue on the issue of sexual harassment in the streets of India. Blank Noise works towards collective ownership and responsibility of sexual violence on our streets. Blank Noise employs a variety of strategies to affect change —from advocating for effective legal mechanisms, to staging theatrical public protests, to building testimonials, to using new technology to publicize offenses—to reach out to victims, perpetrators, and spectators involved in sexual harassment in public spaces. Blank Noise stimulates conversations on cities, safe spaces, blame, shame, empathy, biases, morality, citizenship and autonomy.
The Blank Noise team organizes public awareness events and designs actions for public participation; both on the web and on the streets of cities across India. Currently, Blank Noise is working on the relaunch of its campaign " I Never Ask For It".
- Talk To Me - 2012
- Hahaha Sangha - 2012
- Being Idle 2007 to present date
- Y R U LOOKING AT ME - 2005-2008
- Safe City Pledge -2012 - 2014
- I Never Ask For It - re launched in 2014
- Night Action Plan
2013: I Never Ask For It - evidence wall: Yelahanka Action Heroes as fact builders, evidence gatherers created an evidence wall on Srishti campus, inviting students to mention name, age, nature of violence, garments worn at the time of experience, who caused it. Through a month long workshop as part of the interim semester, Yelahanka Action Heroes 2013, entered a self confrontational process of learning to say " I Never Ask For It "; there by questioning the nature of silence, shame, guilt. As 'Action Heroes', the team also worked towards building 'truth' through a participatory process. This lends itself to the launch of the campaign in 2014. 2012:
- Formed Yelahanka Action Heroes
- Hahaha Sangha
- Talk To Me
Blank Noise has received funding from Tata Tea, under their Jaago Re campaign.
Blank Noise’s work has been shared at the following venues:
- Cornerhouse (Manchester)
- Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany)
- Bronx Museum of Arts (NYC)
- Chiyoda 3331 (Tokyo)
- Max Mueller Bhavan (Bangalore)
- BMW Guggenheim Lab (workshop)
Jasmeen Patheja, Artist in Residence Interns Action Hero community