Yesterday the media were swamped with a minimal (size-wise) spatial intervention that took place in Split, whose message should be far stronger than its size.
Namely, the Split Riva (Split Waterfront), more precisely, its benches and street lights, were decorated in rainbow-colored webbing.
Of course, this action happened in view of the Pride Parade in Split, the event itself being near-banned by the city authorities. A secret group hidden behind the name “Scheming” is to “blame” for this activist burst of “outfitting” urban equipment in rainbow colors – their very name having somewhat ironic connotations as it’s certainly connected to Split and everything that’s going on within the city.
As the organization members state, the knit flags were put on the Split Riva (the Waterfront), with the aim of promoting a more tolerant and mellow Split. Terms such as tolerance and warmth can hardly be linked to the aggressive, irate and dangerous mob that stood on the other side of the fence at last year’s Gay Pride, presenting the worst possible image of the city and its inhabitants.
The Split (cultural) public hopes that this same scenario won’t happen this year, while a series of investigative media activists (both Split-based and others) cultural workers, journalists, public figures and politicians have been inviting to tolerance, acceptance and support of the Gay Pride in various articles, interviews and reactions.
On the other hand, the Split city authorities have preemptively redirected the Split Pride Parade from the Riva (the Waterfront) to a second location – the Prokurative “as a security measure”, thus provoking absolute disapproval from the organizer and that same cultural public. Rendered hopeless by such reactions, the “Schemers” wanted to convey to the general public the significance of this event in terms of the intellectual and cultural progression of the city, and encourage respect of any and all differences, not quite accepted even by the city authorities.
This is what they had to say on their activism:
“Motivated by recent events tied to the Pride Parade and the city authorities’ general attitude towards differences in general, we decided to leave an imprint in our unique way. We knit webbings in rainbow colors, the symbol of the LGBT community, and tied them to benches in the central part of the Riva, precisely at that place where the city authorities do not want to see the Pride Parade and unconstitutionally ban citizens from publicly gathering.
We utilized our hobby – knitting – to send a message. We want a more tolerant and mellow Split, much the same as our knitting is. As we’re against any kind of violent act on the Riva, thus our activism is non-violent towards the city’s urban equipment. Our flags are neither permanent nor do they damage the benches they’ve been set on, rather, they contribute to the colorfulness and liveliness of the Riva. Knit with love and a symbol of welcome to anyone who comes to the Riva – a living room open to everyone. Any and all comments are welcome, and you can leave them at the following email address: spletkarenje.wordpress.com”
We’re sure there’ll be comments, and we invite everyone to join us at the Split Pride Parade. Its significance within the context of the city of Split is more far-reaching than mere invites for tolerance and accepting differences. This is about a city that could, by being unwilling to accept all of the above and “giving in” to the majority, very soon come to the point of losing any sense of being called a City.