The Forgiveness Project
The Forgiveness Project utilizes metaphors of planting and harvesting, reaping and sowing, and relies on community contribution to realize the labor/gift cycle of the work. It is a simple work that involves filling specially-made packets with a handful of hyacinth seeds to be given away during an exhibition. The hyacinth flower is historically the traditional flower of forgiveness. During the exhibition of the work, 10,000 seed packets were filled with the ‘seeds of forgiveness’ by participants. The forgiveness seed packets were made available in the museum for people to take as a gift in order to plant in their own gardens or to give away to others. An initial five thousand packets were filled by volunteers prior to the exhibition in a workspace where participants were asked to meditate on the idea of forgiveness while completing their labor.
The Forgiveness Project has a live performative component. Community members volunteered for 30-60 minute shifts within the installation during the times that the museum was open to the public. The assigned task was to simply sit in the space and methodically fill seed packets, placing them in a pile behind the volunteer.
Volunteers were asked to meditate on the idea of forgiveness and how that resonated within their own lives. They were asked to work silently and without contact or acknowledgement of museum patrons and visitors. The packets they filled were immediately available for people to take from the space.