I do intend to post on Blank Noise and how it works, but am, at present too occupied with my semesters.
In short, Blank Noise is a community art project that tries to address the issue of Street Sexual Violence/Harassment by creating a dialog, tries to break the social acceptance that 'Eve-teasing' has got over time. I mean, most girls take it as one of those facts of life!
Try reading the blog. It's rather massive. But I can assure you it's very much worth the effort.
The Calcutta chapter is relatively new(about 6 months) and this was out first street intervention that involved not only the people who walked, but, more importantly, the locals... the hawkers, the shopkeepers, the shoppers.
The basic ground work included extensive conversations within the group, with our parents, relatives, friends, with absolute strangers on the streets and in colleges. A questionnaire was circulated both in paper and through email. We went out with the questionnaire to the streets and talked to people of all kinds. The answers were used to form a survey which also presented to us a picture of how similar or different the work for Blank Noise in Calcutta would be compared to the other cities.
The preparation for the walk included going up to all the shopkeepers and hawkers in the stretch between Gariahaat and Dhakuria and getting their views on the issue of Street Sexual Harassment. These dialogs are, in fact, the most important part of this project. We met really angry people, very supportive people, and the last and the most challenging kind- What-Can-I-Have-to-Say-on-This people. We met mothers and fathers who said their daughter had never been harassed on the streets because they wore 'decent' clothes. We met shopkeepers who said they had never heard of eve-teasing since they were too occupied with their business. We poked them, prodded them and managed to get them to talk. And there in lies the first aim of Blank Noise.
Another very impressive aspect of this project that amazes me, is the way it uses art and the element of surprise. Art is one medium where all the defenses that social conditioning grinds into us drop. And at that moment as person becomes open to ideas, to connections, to empathy with an absolute stranger. However, how Blank Noise uses art, will take a separate post to describe.