Posts Tagged ‘Project Kaisei’

Beauty

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Beauty

Beauty

 

One of the linchpins in the success of my imaging career, has been the ability to recognize and communicate beauty. Sounds simple. The reality is far from that. The reason being, is that beauty is a complex subject, and really has little to do with obvious and apparent physical attributes.

Take the image above. Pretty girl. I made her prettier with my skills as a photographer. But what makes this beautiful, is understanding. Me taking the time to understand who and what she is, made me want to pursue working with her.¬† Jentry is the daughter of two¬† remarkable parents. She is a dancer with discipline, talent and creative vision, and has what I like to call: “purity of motivation”.

In other words, she “gets it”. That makes her inspiring. This translates to real beauty. You cannot forge beauty. It may be counterfeited to those who only see in the superficial tones¬† communicated in today’s highly compromised value systems. But true beauty will always be above corruption.

That is probably why I attach myself to the Ocean so willingly. It is difficult to corrupt that. It goes on. Powerful and Beautiful in it’s intricate workings and purpose. Water is life and carries within it the energy signature of the universe.¬† When we experience beauty, it resonates in the human heart in much the same manner as a string plucked or stroked on a musical instrument which vibrates and exudes sound.¬† Beauty is like that: pure in tone and motivation.

Blue Pulse

Blue Pulse

My phone rang early yesterday morning. I was online and engaged in a written conversation with Dr. Ed Brenegar about corruption in our culture. Ed is a very educated member of a global leadership community. He always seems to be on point and is generally writing what I am thinking .

The voice on the other end was my friend George Orbelian, who was ringing to speak with me regarding an event being put on by Tre Packard of the Japanese based Environmental action group, Pangea Seed.

Pangea is putting on an Art event in SF, and had sought some help in promoting it. I had suggested Tre speak with George, who is a loved and connected member of the SF Community, and heads a plethora of Organizations.

George is a busy man. He always gets right to the point. “David, what can you tell me about Pangea?” I went straight to the heart of it. I knew what George was asking. “They endeavor to change the perception of Japanese culture through Art and Inspiration, George. Being Japan based, they understand cultural tenets and know that in order to implement real change, the head on approach to Environmental Activism that we use in American Culture is ineffective. Pangea has what I would call a very pure approach. They communicate the beauty and importance of preserving sharks and other marine life, in building a healthy ocean and country. They get it.”

Eternal

Eternal

“That is perfect. Okay I know what to do”. George is like that. We all should be. One needs to check behind the facade these days. For often, what appears to be beautiful and pure, may be something else by the time you see it, than what it was when it was born.

I asked my friend a question. “George, are all Environmental Govt agencies and NGO’s corrupt? I mean, is that just the way things are today? ” (George heads up Project Kaisei, an NGO Environmental entity).

I gave him a brief account of a locally based NGO that was founded on the premise of serving the poor, and what I had recently learned about the leadership, one of which is paid a 200K annual salary.

Majesty

Majesty

“Let me tell you a story” George quietly launched into an account of some close friends of his, who had gone to India to do some humanitarian work. In process they found themselves in the facility of a world famous organization headed up by a global religious figurehead. What they saw there perplexed and alarmed them.

In the facility was a large  room being used as a nursery. Against one wall of the dirty room was a huge pile of toys apparently discarded and untouched. In cribs throughout the room where infants. Grimy, marginally cared for. George began to choke up and explained that this was difficult to talk of. He went on.

“As my friends began to pick up and meet each child, they realized that the children were being left in there. They were never taken outside. They tried to make a difference in caring for them. But it was obvious what was going on. (George describes in intimate detail what those aide workers saw. Chokes up more)

“Thanksgiving was a few days away. They figured that maybe they could help by easing the lot of the women in the religious order, who were a part of the operation. So each member of the party picked something to cook and on Thanksgiving, they brought the people at the orphanage a beautiful traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

As they brought it in, one of the workers there, realizing that the group was trying to do a good thing, took them aside and explained something. The people of the Religious order ate like that every day. A prestigious Hotel chain catered all of their meals. They also told them this: “And you see some of those unkempt babies? Those neglected, discarded children? Some of them were born to the members of the order.”

In tears, George explained “Everything goes this way, they are all bad. But they generally do not start out that way. It is just the process that organizations go through.”

In tears as well, I got it.

Beauty is an honorable state of being. The pretty face of the warm fuzzy thing you thing you feel compelled to “save”? Well, you may have just fed something corrupt. In not looking, and not endeavoring to see, you may have contributed to something evil.

No one wants to abuse babies.

People are what matter.

Be the solution.

Seek beauty.

Whisper

Whisper

 

When we do this, if we do this, we take the lead, and engage the creative process, rather than becoming a part of the destructive process, also known as entropy. That should matter greatly. It cedes to accountability and responsibility. Our organizations need this.

Click on any of the images below to toggle through as a slide show.

The Significance of Mermaids

Saturday, March 26th, 2011
Significant

Significant

In running through an edit the other day for a magazine feature, I happened to stumble upon a file titled “Lost Mermaid” In it were some large scan images of Hannah Fraser performing as a mermaid which I had shot in the Maldives quite some time ago.

The scans had apparently been put in a  back file and forgotten. When I had run across them eventually, I had finished my post production work, sent them out into the netherworld of global editorial submission, and once again sort of forgotten them.

Flicking through thousands of images deftly , when I opened that Lost Mermaid folder I simply stopped in my tracks and went “Wow”.

 Come Hither

Come Hither

On the face of it, a pretty girl putting on a mermaid suit and floating around in the Laccadive Sea (Far side of the world, mid ocean) could be construed as a silly thing to deem of any real value or significance.

Eco Concerto

Eco Concerto

But the reality is that in process, this artist inspires each of us to don our own suit of many colors and step out into the void. The world needs that from us, especially right now as it groans under the weight of vast change and challenge.

Here is a good example, sent along by Eric Skaar. A beautiful mind.

Here is another, sent along by Dr Ed Brenegar. A TedX talk by the wonderful CEO of Random Kid,  sixteen year old Talia Leman.

Earlier this week, I got to sit in an hours long conversation with my friend George Orbelian, who among many things heads up the San Francisco Global Trade Council and Project Kaisei. As sunshine magnified by a big bay window, warmed away the chill of a wintery afternoon in Ocean Beach SF, I listened intently as we examined a number of quite vast issues, ones that would appear to be out of reach for any “normal” person in our culture.

After we had looked at “the Japan Problem” and George had presented some rather intriguing information about the Nuclear Plants and Tsunami damage and I had thrown my POV’s worth of data on the pile, George looked at me and quite earnestly said something that hit me with more force than any bitch slap ever could: “What are we going to do?”

And I thought about the mermaid.¬† There are always solutions, but often they come via something that is so lateral, “the powers that be”, due to the way socio- political organizations function, would never consider that maybe the answer was in the examination of a different process and a shift in Philosophy.

Japan changes everything. In this dire time, is presented a remarkable opportunity to change our world for the better and establish something very remarkably sustainable: clean energy, more secure nuclear power generating stations and the creation of a waste recycling system utilizing fuel with a fraction of the safety issues of Uranium and Plutonium. Ever hear about Thorium?

Here is a very simplified view of the potential of Thorium as an energy source in the generation process.

But as my friends in Japan have already pointed out, you cannot build nuclear bombs if your plants run on Thorium. Ever think about what that means strategically? To have all your fissionable material breeders spread all over the countryside generating electricity as well as material to build bombs?

So as my time with George came to an end we looked at the hard line items in Japan and our World, which due to some Geologically time based activity, is likely going to see more incidences like the quake off of Japan that killed so many.  It also created the scenario for catastrophic failure that will in all likelihood cause the reactors to need to become entombed like Chernobyl, thereby causing a loss of the land, adjacent ocean, and vast environmental  resources and health.

As I watched the video of the Tsunami coming ashore and the roiling black waters that I knew contained bodies being crushed by the weight of water and debris, I thought laterally. You could limit some of this further by  a number of actions. But the greater damage and threat to life, that of environmental nuclear disaster, energy dependence and the war expense that implies, that catastrophic flood, can be prevented entirely.

 A Far Shore

A Far Shore

You just need to understand the significance of mermaids.

 

Fore

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
 Sculptural Elements

Sculptural Elements

This is number five in the series on Loves. It is actually entitled Four. (Really.) If you understand the play on words with the copy title “Fore”, well then, you “get” Art and Artists. That is a good thing. We like it when people get us. It is why artists do what they do. ART is our love.

Robb Havassy just left, after a 30 hour visit. When he had arrived, I was working through a series of images where I had been subtly taken by surprise at how the ocean had sculpted rather unique looking gems my Canon 5DM2 had managed to catch, while I happily and possibly very quickly, was ducking in to, or out of, a waterbash.  (reads: having fun)

Robb fronts a huge collective of people who have several things in common. The principle of which, is that they are artists, who comprise the cultural tableau that is Surf Culture. One of the interesting things to me about Robb is his surfboard collection. I have taken to calling them bastard children. 350 surfboard sculptures produced by a Corporation, to sit in mall clothing stores across the US.

The children are copies of a surfboard Robb had left at the home of a well know photographer and friend of his. As circumstances would have it, the board was left by Robb as a sort of gift to the photographer (along with a painting) and had been used in a shoot. Then later, copied “to a T”, and placed in stores to help brand and authenticate a company whose modus was “borrowing” from surfing to brand themselves, because in fact, contrary to surf theme inspired companies, this one was completely disconnected from surfing. They were a clothing company. They do not surf nor contribute to the culture. They take. That is their History. Robb’s experience was simply one of many examples the the Company’s branding modus.

Corporate Disclaimer

Corporate Disclaimer

Here is the funny part. On top of coming to Ventura to hang with designer Donna Von Hoesslin and I (creative sparks fly), work on Surf Story Volume 2 (which should publish late 2011), Robb was in town to pick up the first surfboard he had ever shaped, which was produced at the shop of Dennis Ryder.  (If you do not know about Dennis, you really should. Not only is he a historic figure in Ventura Surf Culture, but is a pioneer in surfboard design development.) But Robb was also getting another shaping lesson from me, and doing board# 2.

What got me excited, is that he brought two of the bastards up with him! I had never seen them. You see, Robb got those 350 surfboards back AND a small settlement in a suit against that apparel company. This was the catalyst for our meeting awhile back.

Robb and his bastard children.

Robb and his bastard children.

It had been the proverbial young David, taking on a sage old Goliath. Robb had used the proceeds to fund Surfstory Vol 1, his statement on the authenticity of Art and Culture. That is a done deal. But 350 bastard children remain in a storage unit in OC.

Robb, Donna and I, and now some of the leadership in Project Kaisei, have been brainstorming concepts whereby we may utilize the bastards,  which could really now be construed as cultural effluent, with faux fin boxes and foam gouges where the company logo was removed, and place some value back into the world with his collection of plastic trash.

This resonates with me because I have built close to 40,000 real surfboards. That translates to 40,000 people who developed a relationship with the ocean on something my hands and heart helped conceive. These mall store boards? Though replicas of Robb’s board, they were merely store fixtures, some even with leash plugs built into odd places, to be used for tie down points as the boards sat in malls, silent icons to materialism and faux lifestyle, whispering sweet lies to all who admired what they thought that the bastards stood for. The irony of this hit me instantly when first I heard about Robb. Surfboards are symbolic of people- surfers. They are meant to be magic carpet vehicles¬† to adventure in a watery wonderland.

We became fast friends of course. All of us.

But that is Art, and why Art, is one of my many loves.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Seth Godin has this to say about Art, Artists and Artistry. Simple brilliance. His Art inspires me.

Richard Lang is one of the many bright lights, who as an artist, is collaborating with us on Project Kaisei, plastics awareness, and changing the world through Art. Here is a fantastic video which illustrates how he and his wife Judith do that.

Art is for everybody and can be produced by anyone. Here is a great example of that.

The imagery below in the gallery is a small sample of a collection of refuse. I say trash, because I had overlooked these images in first edit of the collection I just built here in Ventura, California, in what may be a historic benchmark for the ocean this Jan-February, 2011.

I did not frame or intend to build these. They just happened as a result of an accord between perfect meteorological conditions, pristine ocean, and me swimming 57 times with my camera in 34 days. Spawn of my world.

Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.  Foreward!

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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