Good Intentions/FIX 2011 DAY 1
I have been distributing the literature from 10 – 12 today, I gave away just short of 70 tracts in the 2 hours. Many people refused to take the tracts but most people were friendly and politely took a tract without really looking to see what it was. I remained smiling regardless of the acceptance or refusal of each tract but was somewhat baffled by the few people who obviously wanted to be polite and helpful in taking a tract but could only retain ownership of it between myself and the nearest bin. Only 1 tract was openly discarded with a cry of “Oh my God she’s a Christian” which made me feel strangely defensive. Should I blow my cover say I’m a non-theist that this is an artwork? No, I chose to remain smiling and rush to pick the tract up before the wind carried it away or the litter warden who had been taking great interest in me for the duration decided to fine me for being the distributer of potential litter.
I had not expected to feel so strange handing out the literature alone. I was aware that most people would assume it was a Christian leaflet (with this being the point) but had not taken this to the logical conclusion that they would think of me as a Christian. Having been a Christian for several years it was a mixed feeling as I stood handing out the literature. Obviously true tracts are given in the hope of converting their reader to the Christian faith or at least awakening a question within them about whether God exists and what purpose he has in the life. I am keen to question the purpose of art in Belfast through these tracts and am keen to see if anyone phones the number included on the tracts to leave a message.
The venue of Cornmarket was chosen as it was regularly used by preachers to instruct and educate on the scriptures. With the ‘Spirit of Belfast’ replacing the old bandstand the meaning has shifted slightly but preachers can still be heard there occasionally. The space is mostly used now by promoters for local clubs and shops. These promoters have a definite style which identifies them from a distance before you ever see the leaflet they are distributing. I had chosen carefully to wear plain clothes, sensible trainers and a raincoat. The lack of fashion being a subconscious sign to passersby that I was not promoting a business or event and inspired by other tract givers I have seen in Belfast.
The Good Intentions tract will be distributed again tomorrow from 10-12 in Cornmarket, Belfast.