Dirty flowers

In November 2003 for the third project on my MA Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins I produced a body of work which I called Dirty Flowers.

At the time I lived on the fourth floor of a council block located between Brick Lane and Columbia Road in Bethnal Green. It’s an interesting, gritty, colourful area. I’d been scribbling down words and phrases I found scratched or daubed in the street locally as well as in the communal areas of my flat for a while. Many of these words were ‘dirty’, there were lots of dirty words…

I decided to do something with my collection of dirty words, I liked the idea of subverting the meaning of the words through beautifully re-appropriating them back into environment. I bought a bucket of wild flower seed from an online store and toured my local area writing dirty words in seed on grassy communal areas, each letter was approximately 1 metre high. I loved the idea that come spring/summer the residents of the local tower blocks, myself included, would look out of our windows onto beautiful bollocks.

I documented the locations for the re-appropriated dirty words through photographs, I produced a book of these photographs with captions explaining the dirty word sown within the frame and a description of the location. I also manufactured a limited number of wild flower seed packets with which I suggested others sow their own dirty words.

Here are some photos of my chosen locations together with their dirty words.

Arsehole
Green space between Brick Lane and Rhoda Street, looking towards Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘arsehole’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Bastard
Green space between Brick Lane and Rhoda Street, looking towards 42 Swanfield Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘bastard’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Bitch
Green space between 68-126 Wellington Row and Gossett Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘bitch’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Bollocks
Green in front of Bethnal Green Medical Centre, Florida Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘bollocks’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Dickhead
Virginia Gardens, Virginia Road, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘dickhead’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Filthy
Jesus Green looking towards Elwin Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘filthy’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Fuck
West side of Ion Square, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘fuck’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Piss
East side of Ion Square, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘piss’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Pussy
Green space on Brick Lane and Rhoda Street, looking towards Swanfield Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘pussy’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Shit
Between Gowan House and Kirton Gardens, Chambord Street, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘shit’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Tits
East end of Columbia Road, junction with Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘tits’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Twat
Between Kirton Gardens and Briggs House, Chambord Street, London, E2. The word ‘twat’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Wanker
Green space behind Sivill House, Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘wanker’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Whore
Green area around Strickland House, Bethnal Green, London. The word ‘whore’ has been sprinkled over the grass in wild flower seed.

Reflection on this project:
There are two simple things that would greatly improve this project. Firstly, photographic documentation of the original ‘dirty words’ as found in the local environment; ideally the original dirty word and the dirty word written in wild flower seed would be in the same general location. Secondly, photographic documentation of the dirty word written in flower seed when in bloom.