Flower Interruption: San Francisco, CA, 2003
Flower Interruption: San Francisco CA took place on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 6:15 am at the intersection of Jones, McAllister, and Market Streets. The planning for the San Francisco Interruption was an eight month process, which took on a life and world of its own. In addition to painting the 500 flowers, I made many site drawings with the flowers appearing as colorful surreal creatures exaggerated in proportion and dominating the black and white environment around them. I also photographed and made graphic drawings of the Interruptionists. Finally, I spent a considerable amount of time planning out the action itself: spending time on location to note the activity, lining up a crew of Interruptionists to assist in the installation, and developing an Action Plan for the morning of the Interruption.
The actual Interruption went quite smoothly and much faster than I had anticipated. I had 17 assistants, who had all received the Action Plan prior to the event. However, as it turned out, the process did not go exactly as planned and instead felt like five minutes of total chaos. We put on our vests and collectively scrambled to get the flowers down. There were a couple cars that drove through and we had to move for, but no cops during the installation. When we finished, it felt quite strange because the area was so quiet and deserted except for the flowers and there we were, a small crowd in our vests, unsure of what to do next. We took off our vest and just stood around waiting. There were a few other people hanging out around the area - mostly street people and a few early risers on their way to work.
My favorite interaction was with a woman named Jody who showed up and started pulling the flowers up. She took off with one load (and a couple of pillows) in her arms and then returned a while later to collect more. We learned that she was on her way home from a methadone clinic when she came upon the flowers. She lives a few blocks away on Jones and Ellis in the Mentone Hotel, which recently had a fire in it. She was delighted to come upon the flowers and learn that they were free for the taking so that she could take them home to use to cover the fire damage on her walls. I asked if I could come over to take pictures of the installation when she finished putting it up and she said I could come over the following day. The work lives on.