Daily nuggets of inspiration from the good folk
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Massoud Hassani’s extraordinary ‘Mine Kafon’ is a giant, wind-powered, bamboo-framed, toy-inspired sphere which – with the aid of GPS – rolls over unexploded landmines and tracks the clear, safer paths that it leaves behind. Hassani developed the piece after reflecting on his childhood in Kabul and the toys that he played with, which were often blown by the wind into dangerous areas known to contain landmines. (Nice find, Alex)
So, imagine for a minute you’re Bradley Wiggins, sitting astride the world’s most technologically advanced bike, set fair to blow the competition away. And yet, and yet, something’s holding you back. You look behind and horrified, witness attached to your rear end, a lady in full Victorian regalia, perched precariously on a penny-farthing.
OK, hands up, it’s a poor attempt at a crude analogy for China: the express-train of a country tipped to be the next world super power, held back by the baggage of yesteryear. Their continued support for illegal trades in rhino horn, tiger penis and shark fin is the core of the dichotomy they face as they transition (rapidly!) from one epoch to the next. The population is booming too. To not address the latter may add to the ultimate demise of the former.
But fear not, as there’s a solution in the offing. At the Sustain RCA awards last week with Jamie, we witnessed one (winning) exhibit from Ai Hasegawa in the ‘Moving Minds’ category entitled, ‘I wanna deliver a shark’. I couldn’t possibly do her entry justice, so I’ll share the editorial:
“This project approaches the problem of human reproduction in an age of over-population and environmental crisis. With potential food shortages and a population of nearly nine billion people, would a woman desperate to conceive consider incubating and giving birth to an endangered species such as a shark, tuna or dolphin? This project introduces a new argument for giving birth to our food to satisfy our demands for nutrition and childbirth and discusses some of the technical details of how that might be possible.”
Wow. Left-field? Too far-fetched?
Perhaps not. I’d argue this is exactly the kind of mind-set needed to, at the very least, maintain the status quo of the planet. Yes, that’s easy for me to say as a bloke and obviously incapable of ‘motherhood’. For the foreseeable future, at any rate!
But before you fall off your chair with laughter, hang on a mo. I can back the argument up with an award-winning solution of my own to the worlds woes. Back at school, my art teacher, an old hippie, set us a challenge. Design something that would either:
- save the whales from the harpoon
- rid the planet of the nuclear threat
(CND & Greenham Common was big at the time, kids)
- stop waste going to landfill
Far too easy I say. Let’s see if we can’t solve all three problems at once:
Strap two nukes to a whale (I seem to recall sticky back plastic, glue and scissors, thanks Blue Peter), fill said whale with as much waste as it can (literally) stomach and fire the lot into space.
Hey Presto, three problems solved in one. Ridiculous and frivolous obviously. So imagine my (and the rest of the class’s) surprise when I actually won. Not for the practicality (!) but for the creative thinking employed.
Don’t follow the herd. Think differently.
I’ve arrived back in Melbourne after being away for four years in London. It’s good to be back with friends and family. It’s good to be back and see the old ‘hood with hipsters making great coffee and food taken from all parts of the world, reinvented with an Aussie twist. It’s also good to see that the streets still retain an edge of creativity, even though the edge is a little softer than it used to be.
No longer is my neighbourhood splattered with graffiti at any given point, challenging the senses and causing chaos for law-abiding citizens. I now find well-considered, well-crafted and thoroughly integrated pieces of art. The wall on the side of the shop looks more like a welcome sign you’d find at a holiday destination, while street poles and bike racks have been neatly knit bombed to help soften the blow when locking your bike.
Does this mean the streets have been tamed? Or is this just the ever-evolving reinterpretation of street life? I do miss the unexpected and unconsidered in-your-face street art but can also say I’m enjoying this softer landing.
Natal is the Israeli Trauma centre for victims of terror and war, where finding a quick blood donor match is the difference between life and death. Israeli advertising agency, Twentythree, redefined social collaboration by launching Facebook blood groups – the largest online pool of emergency blood donors that can be contacted in a click. (Thanks to Digital Alex.)
Thousands of people joined as national media covered the story. When the Israeli Red Cross sent requests for urgent blood donations, Facebook blood groups helped save the life of a 15-year-old girl by finding a donor in a matter of hours.
A mysterious French artist who transforms some of the world’s most downtrodden slums with his haunting large-scale photographs has won the TED prize for his humanitarian work. (Cheers Tet, our newbie in NY.)
With past winners like Bono and Bill Clinton, the TED prize gives the recipient $100,000 and ‘One Wish to Change the World,’ which often leads to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.
The 27-year-old Parisian who calls himself ‘JR’ to protect his anonymity, photographs faces of people who live in poverty and then blows up the images and pastes them on rooftops or walls. His tactics aren’t always legal – in China, he was arrested (then released) for posting one of his photos.
JR told the NY Times that he was stunned to be selected and didn’t know what philanthropic project he will launch as his ‘One Wish’. He said: “I go to local communities, forgotten communities or antagonistic communities, and try to energize them and bring them together and make them think, through the medium of art. I would want my ‘wish’ to be something like that, but on a global scale.”