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The Secret Love Project… spreading love and changing lives!


Cape Town, South Africa (23 July 2019) – We are all influenced by the things we see every day; our moods, actions and behaviours are affected by the visual world around us. 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.

This question and that symbol are exactly how the ‘Secret Love Project’ was born in the Mother City, but most Capetonians (and South Africans) had no idea that all the hearts around the city are actually connected!

The project began as a collaborative artwork designed to spread love in the world using the heart shape. Created by South African artist Michael Elion for the World Design Capital 2014 in Cape Town, The Secret Love Project is a social engineering experiment that explores how signs and symbols – that form part of the visual register in city space – operate on the collective consciousness and influence our behaviour.

“If we notice a positive symbol everywhere we go in the city, will it influence our perception of that city and possibly even influence our behaviour?”  

The heart shape has become an unambiguous symbol of love, globally. It signifies a feeling, represents a mode of perception, and is aligned with positive emotional content. If we notice this symbol everywhere we go in a city, will it influence our perception of the city itself and even change our mood slightly? And could this, in turn, influence our thought patterns and feelings and possibly influence our actions?

The Secret Love Project 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. Sticking a heart to your car, or office window or post-box, or front door is simply saying “I like the idea of love in the world and I want to share it”! It amounts to a very small but beautiful act of being human.

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 and has grown from a simple idea to a fully-fledged charity that is helping the people that need it most.

In the 5 years that the concept has been alive, the Secret Love Project has become a registered charity and non-profit company that offers the homeless a lifeline out of poverty and a fresh path to re-integration into society. Every month the initiative give out 10,000 FREE heart sticker packs to over 100 registered sellers, who sell them to motorists at R20 each and keep 100% of the sale.

This puts R200,000 a month or R2,4million per year into the hands of the neediest in our community.

Plus other artists have joined the love revolution and are putting up even more hearts around the city.

For more information click here, or check out some of the awesome photos below:

Sources: The Secret Love Project 
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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