If we notice a symbol everywhere we go in the city, will it influence our perception of that city and even change our mood slightly? Is it possible to positively influence the collective consciousness of an entire city through the ubiquitous placement of a commonly understood symbol; a symbol that signifies positive thought processes and is understood across cultural and linguistic barriers?
Created by South African artist MICHAEL ELION, The Secret Love Project is a social engineering experiment that resulted from the curiosity of how art and symbols, that form part of the visual register in city space, operate on our collective consciousness. The heart shape has become an unambiguous symbol of love across the world. It signifies a feeling, represents a mode of perception, and is aligned with positive emotional content.
This collaborative artwork was created for World Design Capital in Cape Town 2014. The urban artwork operates subliminally, but at a conscious level it’s a giant collaboration with a feel-good factor for anyone and everyone who believes in the simple idea of sharing and spreading love. Underprivileged people are given FREE heart stickers to sell (keeping 100% of the sale), these are then purchased by motorists who stick the hearts to their cars, which carry the symbol through city space and into the visual register. At each stage positive emotion and is shared and reflected through the exchange of this symbol.
Every heart sticker forms part of the artwork, and the artwork itself is a collective feeling, an emotional reaction that this particular shape elicits. If there is any doubt in the validity of the claim of the visual influence of symbols on our consciousness just imagine changing the hearts to swastikas or to the word “hate” and sticking those all over town. The Secret Love Project is an exercise in demonstrating the positive power of symbols (visual language) in human thought and behaviour.
South African Artist and founder of The Secret Love Project. He made the famous glasses sculpture on Cape Town's Sea Point Promenade
Writer & Blogger
Designer and IT guy for The Secret Love Project. Also sometimes paints hearts on houses.
Manager for The Secret Love Project
Ross Van rooijen
Assisting The Secret Love Project
Love Ambassador and Assistant to The Secret Love Project
Sticker packaging and maintenance
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