Be My Real Valentine

A local Design Studio initiated a public design/art project called “Be My Real Valentine” whereby studios were encouraged to make posters about their interpretation of what Valentines day means to them. Then they were to display them publicly, photograph them and place them onto their FB wall. 

As with any project creating the posters was only one part of the process. The interesting part of the project came when it was time to place the posters up in the public domain. Maybe I was naive thinking that people would be curious? No one was curious, and at times people were hostile, without even finding out first what the project was about. One woman let me put up a whole row of posters in a crooked line, without even letting me know. When I asked her why, she said that people don’t like it when you try to help them. (go figure)

This is really ironic, because the whole tale of St Valentines is about openness, true love generosity  and kindness.

 St Valentine was originally a priest who was arrested for his subversive secret marrying of couples which was against the law back in the times of the Romans.

 For doing this he was then tortured and put to death.

 The story goes that while he was waiting his sentence, couples for whom he had conducted marriages brought him flowers and gifts to show their respect and admiration. This led to today’s traditions of presenting your Valentine with gifts on Feb 14th the day of his execution.

 So February 14th is supposed to be about kindness and friendship and appreciating your fellow human beings (humanity). Much like christmas.

 With this in mind, putting these posters up in public spaces has been a very interesting exercise as most people are simply too busy or too preoccupied with themselves to notice. One woman who was having her morning coffee was aware that I had placed a row of 5 posters in a crooked line, but thought it best to mind her own business and not help me by letting me know. On Monday evening I tweeted the posters to the originators of the whole exercise (Studio Pip) and received no acknowledgement. Today another man observed me taking a poster from my car, and without asking me what it was abruptly ordered me not to put it up on his shop front and even tried to speak for the shop next to his.  In my opinion, this behaviour seems to be quite ironic, and adds a further layer of meaning to the whole exercise.

 Can love be beaten? Is the spirit of St Valentine of sharing and showing kindness and interest in one another still alive? Or have we all become interested only in our own gain?

 Happy St Valentines Day.

PS further to this, after spending ages uploading the images onto the said site of the studio, I was upset to find that they had vanished. The owners of the studio said they had been too busy to remove them. I wonder what happened? I have put them back up anyway.  

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