Attended the State of the Arts Symposium at the L.A. Center last Saturday... well actually didn’t show up til the last 3 hours of the event. Wish I had arrived earlier because the one panel discussion I caught was intriguing: Trans-Cultural Creation: The Global Landscape of Arts and Media.
Was most impressed by the wise, articulate and surprisingly young Tala Mohebi, Editor-In-Chief of Public Diplomacy Magazine from USC. The latest (winter 2010) issue is all about ‘Cultural Diplomacy’.
Excerpt From the Editors by Tala Mohebi, Katharine Keith, John Nahas, “Governments, non-state actors, multinational corporations and influential individuals have all, at some point, utilized culture as a tool for communicating and relating to foreign as well as domestic audiences. While this is common practice, it is not always correctly identified as cultural diplomacy. Our goal in this issue is to bring together the history and theory that underpins this element of diplomacy in order to recognize its value as well as its limitations."
I recommend the World Without Walls article.
The SOA Symposium wrapped up with a fitting presentation that BLEW MY MIND:
BELLA GAIA: A Poetic Vision of Earth From Space was shown in giant projection on a dome ceiling to simulate a space travel experience. I believe the director’s goal is to impart the same kind of paradigm expansion astronauts had viewing Earth from a distance - and to me, he succeeds in that, and much more.
Director Kenji Williams combined NASA footage, visual exploration of select locations around the planet, super-fast time-lapse photography of polar ice caps receding with each passing year, animated text of astronauts’ formulae and simple, dynamic graphics demonstrating what’s happening on different parts of the globe (such as oil consumption). Gives you a lot to think about, yet in a gentle, subtle, heart-expanding way.
The soundtrack consists of a few astronauts’ powerful observations in their own words, and a world beat instrumental score accompanied by live violin played, by Kenji himself.
A celebration of our beautiful Earth - I found this to be a powerfully moving, not-to-be-missed experience. And this film has taken on a life of its own as it continues to be updated with new images captured by NASA and National Geographic photographers around the world.
Big thanks to this visionary for making such a remarkable work of art, with the potential to open people’s hearts and minds to the bigger picture of living here together on this planet.
Check out the BELLA GAIA promo below. I hope you get to have the full experience sometime.