“People have a problem admitting that they’re really fucking ambitious, that they want to change the world.” Bruce Mau, world-leading visionary, innovator, designer, and author, opened his mouth and the room listened.
The cross cultural understanding team has gone back and forth over the last day. They are trying to hone in on which audience Global Lives is trying to reach, and how they are going to get to the end result. Mau noticed this to-ing and fro-ing, and said that sometimes taking action can help to clarify this mission statement. Perfecting the mission statement will come, he explained, now it’s time to move forward.
Global Lives is a not-for-profit organization that hopes to build a video of human life experience to create awareness of different cultures in, what they call, a forever shrinking world. The designer team, at this point, is very clear that their goal is to create transformative experiences that breed empathy over apathy.
The experience thus far has been intriguing, to say the least. Mau entered at a crucial point. It seemed the team was focusing too much on the length of the films, and how these 24-hour films would not be able to breed interest or generate the desired change. However, regardless of whether or not the team agrees with the use of the medium that David Evan Harris, Executive Director of Global Lives, has chosen to convey his message, the tool that they have is there and must be used.
The room is divided. On the one side, we have the designers who believe that this footage needs to be edited and created into a story arc and narrative to elicit the greatest empathy and understanding from people. On the other side, the designers feel the emphasis needs to be on creating a transformative experience that encompasses or perhaps replicates what the video producers felt when living with the subjects being filmed.
Mau describes the state of the world by comparing it to a species of birds in Panama. They were taken from their native island and placed in Panama, only to find that they never flew further than the length of their native island. Countries operate like these islands – the French island, the German island, the American island. The greatest task in the world, Mau believes, is getting people to understand cultures outside of their own islands. He thinks that Global Lives could aim to be even more ambitious than it already is. Creating videos is wonderful, but sometimes the mission gets lost in the task.
Another interesting obstacle for global lives to tackle is looking beyond the use of museums as a showcase. “Cultural institutions need to be reinvented. Why can’t Global Lives be a part of that reinvention?” Mau says. His point is that Global Lives could generate a conversation with museums and cultural institutions to change how they are built.
People need to interact and experience in order to feel. Steve Edwards, from WBEZ, roughly quoted Voltaire as saying “Touch my heart, I will forever etch a story in my mind.” Harris agreed with this, and used the quote to further emphasize his reasoning behind not wanting to edit a story arc. He wants the audience to do it for themselves.
Next stop: brainstorming for the final concept. It’s nearly 1PM now and the team has yet to truly develop a cohesive concept.
By Meagan Lopez, @theladylunches