In December 2013, while working in New York City, I came across an experiment. I took 10 people, asked them to meditate in any way they choose for 30 minutes in public places all around NYC. The results were stunning.
The exposure of someone stopping their day and resigning 30 minutes to quiet and still peace affected each participant, the throngs of people around them, and me. The participants found a startling quiet on some of the loudest environments. Passersby stopped, asked questions and felt better about people practicing such a intimate, invasive craft in front of their eyes.
But that is just a sample of what happened, or what could happen. By blurring participatory art with cinematography and stillness, I plan to give a little peace back to the monkey-mind world. I want to continue this amazing project to 3 (or more) cities in my existing travel plans this year, and see what an episodic journey into the juxtaposition of chaos and quiet can provide the world. Welcome to "A Peace of the World".
Start by viewing the completed, "A Peace of NYC", then venture below to get all the details on how you can be a philanthropist of a profound and radical art experiment.
With absolute gratitude, I thank you for taking the time to view and support this project.
Who am I?
Wow, that's a question that is difficult to put into text, so I'll give you a few details about how I relate to this project. I am a grant winning videographer, cinematographer and photographer that has been traveling and working in Austin, Texas, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and on the Big Island of Hawai'i for the past 3 or so years. I have honed my craft through the gracious support and teachings of thousands in the video, film and photo production industry, while still being inspired to create media that makes people guess, think, and explore new, positive ideas. One of my inspirations, Gregory Wilson, lent me a 6ft time lapse dolly that I used in "A Peace for NYC", and said "Go do something cool with it - I know you will".
I also know that creating beautiful things and especially doing what you love in your work makes the world a better place. I feel this is more important than technical knowledge or skill set - don't you? So what about this "A Peace of NYC"?
How did this start?
I was riding on the subway of NYC on a particularly cold day, watching all the people scurry around on their single tracks to their next destination. I was reviewing myself flipping the pages of the freshly released blog-turned-photobook "Humans of New York" and simultaneously struggling with how I would use the massive time lapse contraption that had been loaned to me a few months earlier, by the talented Cinematographer Gregory Wilson. It clicked. I would use the stillness of meditation to juxtapose the City that Never Sleeps.
I got a bit more than I bargained for. From the first session with Alyssa, I noticed several powerful themes and unexpected surprises that appeared while holding this space. People stopped and stared. People stopped, wondered why they stopped. People stopped and never even saw Alyssa, the camera or myself. Alyssa commented on how she was nervous at first, but eventually started to slow things down and even feel how other people saw her, all while her breath continued and her eyes stayed shut.
Every subject after was different. Sometimes people came up and talked and asked questions. Participants described their varied experiences from "a performance" to "as far from gaining attention in public than they had ever experienced." The public would start to walk closer and closer to the participant the further along their meditation they were - one of the unforeseen outcomes that I observed behind the camera. I started to see that the subjects were effecting more than themselves, they were starting to flip some kind of switch in the world around them. I knew I was on to something - even before the capturing was over.
Why "A Peace of the World?"
After hours of post-production coloring, compiling and editing, I released the video to the internet, having felt like it had already been felt by many in NYC. Within a day, hundreds had seen and commented on the video - all without any advertising on Facebook, Twitter or other public social media outlets. I received more emails than I ever had before from any other project I had worked on. People contacted me from around the globe to ask questions or just show their appreciation.
It is time to expand this and get more people involved in supporting this project. I am proposing making this a continual, episodic endeavor, starting with three locations I am already scheduled to visit this year - my hometown of Austin, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I plan to explore new visual techniques of capturing this powerful project, add a little flavor and peace to the places I visit, and ask more strangers to meditate in public!
What if funding goes beyond the initial amount (Stretch Goal!)?
Any and all funds over the initial goal will go directly to adding more project locations. Since the initial capital costs are covered in the original funding amount, I can cost efficiently add new destinations to the itinerary, based on how much I raise.
Based on the stretch goal amount, I will poll and ask all participants who donated to pick the next destination.
How I am contributing?
I am pouring my blood, sweat, time, money and heart into this one. I believe in this one. I don't have the means to fund this one myself, so I need your help and support. I am a hell of a thrifty traveller, preferring the warmth of friends, family and strangers to hotels. I will stand on the streets, talk to random people all day, beg for participation, problem solve, sweat, maybe even stub my toes, haul a 6ft metal pole around foreign lands, take zero pay, sleep on hospitable couches, spend hours editing and compiling thousands of frames, use my own equipment, and smile the whole time for you!
I am also actively seeking additional grant support from art institutions and supportive organizations like Awesome Foundation, meditation/yoga schools and groups, and friendly non-profit organizations I have come across. For the initial 3 cities I plan on experimenting with, I will not take outside, for-profit funding. However, I am open to support from the right organization, should it come along.
Be a patron of the arts and donate. Tell other people you donated to this project. Hell, tell everyone you know about this project.
If you have no funds to part with, send some encouragement my way. Give me a couch to sleep on, share a meal with me, give me a call, or email a suggestion of resources that are available to you. A project of peace takes much more than money!
With your donation you are directly supporting the arts and a little more peace in the world!
What is the Budget/Cost?
- Dolly $1,500 -The workhorse of the operation. The original dolly I used was a loaned by a friend, and now it is time to invest in the top of the line dolly to perform many "peaces" to come.
- additional tripods ($300) -These support the dolly, allowing for much more exciting and experimental effects and camera angles
- 2x G-Drives (primary/backup) $300 - I use production grade Toshiba drives to edit and store all my work. Two drives allow duplication protection, should one fail or be lost.
- 1x CF 32gb Card $100 - Each shoot takes at least 3 GB of data, this card allows me to add more shooting without offloading or switching cards.
- additional camera batteries ($120) - Gotta power the camera!
- backup mobile battery ($50) -This battery powers the dolly set up. I have an existing battery, but I need an additional battery with more voltage to power the the camera dolly when it has a larger load (camera with large lens, dolly in vertical position).
- This battery will also allow a redundancy for power. -expendables (cabling/misc media) ($150)
- food/general travel expenses ($1,000) - I already am paying for transportation to all of these places, this is intended for costs directly related to this project and keeping me alive while I work on this project.
- Music creation ($300) - In order to match the feel, peace and tone of each episode, I have negotiated a stunningly low fee for the creation of original soundtrack music from my dear friend and music genius, John McGee (jinxmcgee.com).
- Shipping ($300) - When you travel with a 6ft aluminum track, you expect to pay a little more for baggage fees and shipping :-)
- mic $125 - This will allow the much better capture and recording of pre/post interviews and location sound.
- Residual $ rewards/kickstarter percentage - This will pay the percentage of money that Kickstarter and Amazon payments takes from the funding of this project. This will also pay for some of the rewards, including shipping and materials for fulfillment.
What is the timeline?
- May 2014 - Capture Austin
- June 2014 - Capture Los Angeles
- July 2014 - Capture Rio De Janeiro
- August 2014 (edit, color, assemble/compile time lapses)
- September 2014 "A Peace of Austin" release
- October 2014 - "A Peace of Los Angeles" release
- November 2014 - "A Peace of Rio" release
Final words of wisdom...
Just like medici of the arts, by supporting this you are patron of the arts. I need some artistic patrons to take this journey with me - not just the cash to make it. I am asking you to deeply support this project and what it means, not asking you for money so I can just create something.
I'm ready to take on this project, work extremely hard and let it teach me, and the world, new ideas about meditation, peace and people. Know that your few dollars are going to a solid project that will bring some truly amazing results. I can't wait to do this, yet I can't do it without your help.
From deep in my heart, thank you for watching and contributing.
with deep gratitude and peace with you,
Risks and challenges
The first episode has been completed, allowing for much of the risk to be eliminated, as I have proved I can do it. I learned a massive amount, about executing the project, as well as protecting the safety of myself, participants and my equipment in an urban environment. I keep my health up to perform this exhausting work and my mind sharp and happy to be able to see great shots and participants.
I will also be stepping outside the country for this project, which will present some minor challenges, none to be worried about. I have a 15 years of international travel experience and a vast support network which includes some amazing people helping in each city.
If any setbacks or delays come up, I will treat them peacefully and keep on keeping on!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)