Saturday, 30 October 2010
The contributions to this video are as varied and as innovative as those that made-up the first compilation and reinforce the message that the peoples of this world want peace and they want it now. It was Dwight D Eisenhower; the former President of the USA, that once said: "I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." Perhaps that time has come. The people who have contributed so far to 12seconds for Peace certainly think so. And the one's who have yet to contribute, also think so, and we shall hear from them soon enough.
As the momentum behind this project increases, the flow of voices, images, emotions, faces, words, text, passions all calling for peace will also increase. Peace is not an idle dream. Peace is the thing that we all need in our lives on all levels. It is something that we need to manifest through action. Simply wishing for peace, dreaming of peace, prevaricating about peace, is the way of the idle and the indolent. Action is required by all, and if not by all, then by the majority, and if not by the majority, then by the minority, and if not by even these, then one person can do it. Be that person. Peace is that which we spend our lives trying to create to give us a foundation on which our individual and collective happiness can be born. It is the soil in which all of our other aspirations need to grow and then to flourish. Peace is the beginning and the end of the search, and when we get there, we can start a life without searching. The search will be over, because to manifest a lasting peace, we all must make the effort to be the very best that we can be at all times, and when we ARE the very best that we can be at all times, then we have all that we truly desire: peace, happiness...contentment.
In the last five months, much as happened in and around 12seconds for Peace. 12seconds.tv, the main platform for and inspiration behind the project at its conception is no longer with us as it's creators moved on to other things. Todd and Gina Love-Murdock at Trinity Records and Promotions jumped on board and have been a fantastic support and very vocal promoters of the project for some time. The women's peace organisation 'Peace X Peace' have joined us and are actively encouraging their extensive membership list around the globe to take part in the project. We are still in negotiation with Palestinian peace-activists to get them much more involved at all levels, and coming up in the next couple of days is a preliminary meeting with the Minister of Culture within the Sudanese government to see if the project can in any way be used to help promote the cause of peace in that much beleagured country.
12seconds for Peace goes on. To answer a question that comes up from time to time: no, there is no deadline. You can contribute to this project anytime between right now up until the point where we truly have peace in the world and then I am, happily going to abandon this project for ever. This day is not close yet, so you still have plenty of time. Keep your videos coming in. Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please make sure that they are no more than 12seconds in length and that they are pro-peace, not anti-anything.
I want to thank you all for your continued suppport, love and commitment to this project, but much more importantly, for your commitment to making the world a better place for all.
Steve Gooch for 12seconds for Peace
Monday, 25 October 2010
Birgit and Jen have both contributed to 12seconds for Peace in the past, but it is a great pleasure to have them back via their wonderful company 'Zententions' - and also with the stunning Zen photographs of Stephen Chard.
What makes this video very special is that it is the final video for our second compilation: '12seconds for Peace - Ten Minutes Later'. Watch for this incredible piece of work that you contributed too in the coming days! It's all wrapped up and ready to be released now!
Please keep those videos coming in. We are now working on the third compilation: '12seconds for Peace - Revolution!'
If you want to know more about Zententions, you can find their website here: Zententions.
Steve Gooch for 12seconds for Peace
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
There is no indication of who sent in this video, however it is very gratefully recieved! If you do decide to send in a video via Tokbox, please also give an indication of your name and what country you come from. We do like to credit everyone that contributes to the project.
This video in fact brings our next compilation: '12seconds for Peace - Ten Minutes Later' to within striking distance of completion. Three more videos will do it! Get your video in now and be a part of this ground-breaking compilation video!
12seconds for Peace
Monday, 18 October 2010
This is a really lovely video expressing the simplicity of peace that we can find just by being in touch with the natural world at its most sublime. Breath in peace - thank you Litana!
If you would like to be included in the final stages of '12seconds for Peace - Ten Minutes Later' then send your 12seconds for Peace video in to: email@example.com
12seconds for Peace
Sunday, 17 October 2010
The interview was not only broadcast on Souls Journey Radio but was also live-streamed on Souls Journey TV. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to get an embed code for the audio player but you can listen to the interview by watching the video instead. If the audio does eventually become available it will be featured permanently in the side-bar of this page.
Souls Journey Radio has a fantastic array of different spiritually-based shows airing live each day and is definitely worth checking out. You can find the Souls Journey Radio page by going to Souls Journey Radio. Or you might want to check out the livestream video broadcasts and they can be found here at Souls Journey TV.
If you would like to know more about the work of Sandra Harrick, or in fact would like to book a session with her and employ her amazing talents as a medium, psychic or healer, you can find her on her own page here at Awakenings.
It was wonderful to talk with Sandra and I am sure that if you do get the chance to talk with her, you will feel the gratitude that comes from connecting with someone of such generosity of spirit.
Steve Gooch for 12seconds for Peace
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Peace X Peace began in 2002 when Patricia Smith Melton, a poet, playwright, film maker, and photographer, gathered six experts in peace and women’s rights from around the world to discuss how they might respond as women to the violence of 11/09/2001. The organization was incorporated as a 501(c )(3) nonprofit in the USA to connect women internationally to build peace. It launched a website and an online news service and began connecting women, across geographic and cultural divides, via the internet. Peace X Peace are very much involved in collaborative work with the United Nations on various initiatives for women, including the Commission on the Status of Women, Millennium Development Goals and UN Women.
Peace X Peace, in collaboration with 12seconds for Peace are inviting the global membership of Peace X Peace - across more than 100 countries - to contribute a 12seconds for Peace video. Peace X Peace videos will be streamed here as a part of the overall 12seconds for Peace project but will also be used by Peace X Peace in their own promotional activities. Watch out also for dedicated Peace X Peace compilation videos from 12seconds for Peace and Peace X Peace.
You can find out more about the work of Peace X Peace on their website here: Peace X Peace. If you are interested in joining the Peace X Peace community and supporting their work further, you can join at: Peace X Peace Community.
Raise Women's Voices, Build Cultures of Peace - support and join Peace X Peace.
12seconds for Peace
Saturday, 9 October 2010
Steve Gooch for 12seconds for Peace
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
|12seconds for Peace on 12seconds.tv|
It is with great sadness that we report the demise of the 12seconds.tv website. Yesterday an announcement went out that the site will cease to be as of the 22nd October.
It was the 12seconds.tv site and the concept of allowing individuals to upload 12 seconds of video, that was the inspiration behind the creation of 12seconds for Peace. Every single video that has been contributed to this project found a home on 12seconds.tv and all of the embed codes across the various 12seconds for Peace pages around the net, link back to 12seconds.tv.
Just two weeks ago, we had struck a deal with Jacob Knobel, one of the founders of 12seconds.tv, to offer to their entire user-base a 'peace badge' if they contributed a 12seconds for Peace video and tagged it with the word 'peace'. You can see the badge here that will now never be used. Exciting times were ahead as this promotion across the 12seconds.tv site would have meant the creation of literally hundreds if not thousands of 12seconds for Peace videos. This should have gone live on the 12seconds.tv site just last week.
However, 12seconds for Peace goes on. The rules remain the same. You still only get 12 seconds of video to make your message of peace! Your videos will now be uploaded to YouTube and embedded from there. 12seconds for Peace has always maintained a back-up of videos on YouTube and now the task ahead is to replace all of the embed codes across the various 12seconds for Peace pages, which will take some time to complete. This job, as far as this 12seconds for Peace main blog is concerned, is already complete and all of the videos here now link back to YouTube.
Finally here at 12seconds for Peace, we wish Sol, Beach and Jacob - the three founders of 12second.tv, best wishes in their continuing endeavours. It was a pleasure to have been a part of 12seconds.tv and here on 12seconds for Peace we intend to keep the spirit of 12seconds.tv alive.
Steve Gooch for 12seconds for Peace
Friday, 1 October 2010
LISA: What gave you the idea for creating 12seconds for Peace, and when did it first go public?
STEVE: I was wandering around my home town of Rugby in the UK just before Christmas 2009 and working on some ideas in my head for a new piece of sculpture or a multi-media piece that I thought could incorporate perhaps video and diary-like text elements within it. I had a range of ideas at that point that began blurring together. Also at that time I was sort of interested in using internet-based social media in some sort of creative context. It seemed to me that across the net there was very little being done that utilised the enormous potential for connectivity between cultures and peoples in an interesting or aesthetically meaningful way. For a couple of years prior to that I had been using a site called 12seconds tv that I had come across whilst searching out potential ways of marketing a book on Reiki that I had written. Although 12seconds tv turned out to be pretty useless in that sense, I toyed with it on and off and used it as most people on there do to churn out meaningless cyber-gum that no one could care less about really. But something kept me at it with that particular site. I was really quite taken with the idea that each video could not be more than 12 seconds in length. You can't do a lot with that but, at the same time, it does force you to distill your ideas, or compact them down so that you end up with a raw kernel of something that has meaning - stripped of all the superfluous stuff that actually, most of the time we don't really want to hear in 1 or 2 minute or, heaven-forbid, 10 minute mega-productions. It was a format that forced me to think clearly about what it was that I wanted to say. So, creatively, I felt that it had a lot of potential, and as a social-media tool it also had enormous social potential as well. So in trying to put together an idea for a new art-work, the possibilities inherent with social-media, and particularly 12seconds tv kept popping into my head.
Being something of a magpie, with voyeuristic inclinations also, I hit upon the idea of trying to get other people involved in the creation of a piece of artwork. I wanted them to express their feelings, their thoughts, their passions, and to send them to me so that I could use them in whatever this piece was going to be, which at that point I was still not clear about. It was, I guess, shaping up into something akin to a global diary...a collage of snapshots of other people's deepest desires and feelings. 12seconds tv, although relatively unknown, was at the cutting edge of new social-media and so was ideally placed as a vehicle for this. The idea of collecting in 12 second long video clips, created by people around the globe was at this point born. But I still did not know what form the final piece of work would take, or indeed what the theme was going to be. I was still thinking in terms of sculpture or maybe heading in the direction of an installation. I saw it as essentially a gallery-based piece in any case. The problem of course at that point, regardless of the final form, was to solve the problem of motivation. What would get other people interested enough to go to the trouble of making me a video and then emailing it to me?
This in some senses however was the easy part. As someone that has for many years been involved in the practice of Reiki and meditation, and I guess this came on the back of my years as an art student in the early 80's when there was that whole peace and love resurgence going on due to the escalating cold war, the idea of doing something that in some way benefitted humanity, rather than just took from it, was the logical direction for me to go in.
Back in about 1982, I remember going on an anti-nuke demonstration with CND. For those of you that don't know, CND stands for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The logo for CND was, and still is, what has now been taken as the universal symbol for peace. But back then it stood for CND and is based on the semaphore signals for the letters C.N.D. At this particular anti-nuke rally, I was involved in the creation of a huge CND symbol made out of the autumn leaves that were lying around the area that we were occupying. In trying to come up with a theme for this new artwork, and one that in some way would encourage others to participate, this huge CND symbol that I had helped make during my time as a radical art student, sprung to mind.
Of course the CND symbol has now been adopted globally as the symbol for peace and so peace - whatever that means to the individual, became the theme for the planned artwork. Of course it is also one that many people, as passionate about it as I am, would buy into and want to participate in. It then occurred to me that the scope of the project was substantially more than I had originally envisaged, and that with what I saw as a potential deluge of 12 second videos coming in, there would be scope for many artworks, many outcomes and a huge potential audience. The final artwork or artworks would be capable of drawing in very large audiences, created as they would be by the collective expression for peace of people around the world. This to me seemed like the perfect scenario in which to actively make a difference in the world. It is all very well creating beautiful and aesthetically pleasing artworks that can be admired by gallery-attending audiences, and there is nothing wrong with this, but I wanted to give the contributors to the project something back for all the work that they would be putting into it. So I decided that in giving the art works - the video-pieces - an audience, I could use this to collect in donations that could be handed over to charitable organisations that were making a positive impact on the world and doing something that ultimately could be considered as an expression of peace.
So there it was - 12seconds for Peace was born and went live on the internet in early January 2010. Zero funded and no more than my personal experiment in collaborative video-art essentially, it has since then, as I expected it to, grown substantially and to the point where it was being looked at and talked about by many people around the world.
LISA: You work in Sudan in Africa, an area that's long been beset by problems. Did this shape your decision to set up 12seconds for Peace?
STEVE: It's interesting, isn't it, that a peace project such as 12seconds for Peace should be born in a place like Sudan? But to answer your question, no it didn't really influence my decision. Where I live in Khartoum, there are very few or none of the problems that Sudan is so widely known for in the rest of the world. Whatever is going on in Darfur or other parts of the country is not seen here and not really reported in the mainstream media other than on the internet, and even here it is often hard to access the reports as the internet is heavily policed and material found offensive or threatening to the government is blocked. It got a bit crazy here for a while a couple of years ago when a rebel group crossed the desert from the Chad/Sudan border and through Darfur to Khartoum and launched an attack on the city. Everything was locked down and the sound of guns and heavy artillery close by was not a pleasant experience. But you have to remember that Sudan is a huge country. It is bigger than the whole of Europe. Darfur, which used to be an independent sultanate is about the size of Spain. So, when things kick off in Darfur or somewhere else, it does not necessarily impact on us in Khartoum very directly, any more than it impacts on someone in London or Paris. So in that sense what goes on in other parts of Sudan really had and has no more influence on the development of this project than they would have done had I been in London or Paris.
12seconds for Peace is a global project of course and, in that sense, what is happening in Darfur and other regions of Sudan naturally had an influence on its development, but no more so than other war-torn parts of the world. I would for sure like to get out on the streets and make some 12seconds for Peace videos with ordinary Sudanese citizens, but I have been here long enough to know that this could well be seen as a subversive act and apart from getting me kicked out of the country, could get whoever I film, arrested. I do intend to try and get one or two 12seconds for Peace videos out of this country, but they will be shot behind closed doors or away from public spaces where the eyes of the secret police are omnipresent.
LISA: What is your aim and intention for 12seconds?
STEVE: I want 12seconds for Peace to become the biggest peace project on the face of the planet. I don't think that is a difficult thing to achieve, because the advantage this has over anything else out there is that it is allowing everyone who has access to a video camera or an internet connection and webcam to participate, and that is a very large percentage of the population. What is more, in presenting to the world not only all of these individual expressions of a desire for peace, but also each person's face or voice, or their emotions, it becomes a very powerful message to those in power that the people of this planet want peace and they want it now. I think it was Eisenhower who once said that 'one day the people will want peace so much that governments had better get out of the way and let them have it'. I would like to think that time has come - but we are a very war-like species, and individually and collectively I am not sure that we have evolved enough beyond our inclinations to solve problems with violence for that to happen just yet. Either way, I think that in using this project to confront the war-mongering propensities of the tiny percentage of people who run the planet, that perhaps war will be a harder thing to engage in, at least, and that there would be a much greater level of accountability at all levels.
My reason for wanting to make this project as big as possible is that, in spite of all the other organisations out there and the wonderful efforts that they are making to recruit people on the ground, their initiatives are often far too remote or complex for them to be easily accessible to the global population. It seems to me that they are appealing to a largely converted section of the population and through forms that are not in the public awareness: websites that no one is going to visit unless they already have a desire to do so, leaflets in key places that will be picked up by those who are already in those places for similar intentions. Those who have already bought into the peace agenda and are working on it are a miniscule section of the global population, yet the numbers of people around the world, who also desire peace but feel disempowered, is massive. It is these people that I also want to reach. Right now it is just starting to do that.
I think that there is a huge potential here with 12seconds for Peace to not only engage with and bring together individuals around the world regardless of their religious beliefs, their political beliefs or their social, cultural or economic identities, but to use the collective power of their expressions to begin to create a better world immediately. It is my intention to get these videos off the internet and out into the real world. I want to see them in public exhibition spaces, behind bands at rock concerts, in art galleries ...anywhere where the public can see them. This would I think, have the effect of bringing home to those that see the videos that people everywhere, from all sorts of backgrounds, are in fact just human beings with the same desires for peace in the world as themselves. This would hopefully encourage them to participate, but also through this public exposure it could be used as an opportunity to generate funds for various charitable causes around the world - for those that are already engaged in trying to make the world a better place.
What is also interesting for me is that it is very clear, in watching the videos as they come in, that a significant number of people do have a profound understanding of the urgent need to work on themselves in the first instance, as only through the realisation of peace as a personal state of being can we ever hope to have peace in the world around us. This is important and, as a step in the direction of creating peace in the world, undeniably critical. Of course, I think that in establishing a peaceful world order we do need to work on both fronts at the same time: internally and externally. I don't think that we can afford to wait until everyone on the planet has achieved a state of personal perfection before we attempt to deal with the problems that exist in the world around us. But neither can we afford to ignore the urgency of working individually and internally - external peace in the world would be utterly unsustainable without internal peace in the individual. If we are to create one, then we must create the other at the same time.
Also, and this is a much more personal thing and goes back to the origins of the project as an experiment in video art, I see this project as essentially a work of art - something to be appreciated for its own sake apart from its power to affect social and political change in the world. Aesthetically, the effect of combining the video-output of people around the globe, expressing a desire for the same thing but from their personal orientations to the world, is profoundly moving. I want to see this project exhibited and shown around the world purely for its aesthetic value also. I think that people will be genuinely touched by it.
LISA: People from all around the world are contributing 12 second long videos for the project, and there's a beautiful mixture of art, music and words that consolidate the intent of individuals to create a more peaceful and harmonious world. Some of the videos on your blog are very spiritual, and all of them are uplifting to watch. Your video shows you sending Reiki healing energy. You call it the video version of Twitter. Why 12 seconds rather than 15 or 60 seconds?
STEVE: The site '12seconds tv' was created in answer to Twitter and to provide the same sort of instant micro-communication ability that Twitter offers but through the medium of video. It is, in fact, not quite as accessible as Twitter but is still an interesting concept and facility. 12seconds for Peace was built around this site and it was from here that the initial inspiration for the project sprang. So it is this site that defines the 12 second limit to the videos that I take in. Of course I could have built the project around something like YouTube or Vimeo and allowed contributors much greater flexibility in their messages of peace with a longer time limit. The problem is that frankly no one is really interested in listening to the extended monologues that would ensue from such a time extension. I would be inundated with all sorts of material that, although related to the initial core intention of expressing a desire for peace, would run off on all sorts of tangents and I am not interested in these tangents. Nor is anyone else. The internet community - which is vast - is very ready to click away to something else if even for a couple of seconds they start to get bored with what they are watching. I don't want people to get bored with the videos on this project and, at 12 seconds, most people will stay for the duration ofthe video before going elsewhere. 12 seconds forces people to get right to the point. There is only one point: their statement for peace - their desire for peace. Once we get beyond that, we are into territory that has nothing to do with this project: why they want peace, who is responsible for there not being peace now, what we should do about attaining peace etc, etc ...this is not what the project is about. This project has one single goal: to express the desire for peace, and that can easily be done in 12 seconds. Of course if they can extend their message in that 12 seconds, this is fine, but the important thing is the positively focused statement for peace.
What is interesting, however, is the sustainability of viewing, when people look at the 10 minute compilations. Although these compilation videos run for a full 10 minutes, they are made up of strings of 12 second long video clips. What happens is that viewers stay the duration of a 12 second clip and then, because they know that the next one is only 12 seconds also, stay and watch the next one...and then the next and the next. So, in the end, a large percentage of people actually stay the full 10 minutes when under other circumstances they might click away to something else fairly quickly. This is the beauty of using only 12 second long clips.
LISA: With 12 seconds, you're tapping into the power of social networking to break down the barriers ofseparation that are often set in place between different philosophies, religions and governments. Do you feel that social media sites are having a strong influence on how we think now they're so prevalent and popular?
STEVE: The way we think about the world is in a constant state of flux and influenced by many factors. It is also based on deeply ingrained and often culturally and socially defined orientations to the world outside of our own communities or nations. I think that the more we engage with social media the more opportunity there is to redefine our view of the world and the people in it, for sure, but is this actually happening to any great extent? I am not entirely convinced. As an Englishman I have a particular world-view that, although developing and metamorphosing all of the time, is also predicated on the fact that I am indeed an Englishman with a certain set of stereotypes built in at an early age, as we all have. It is not always so easy to over-ride that early programming but I think that the growing domination of social media in popular culture can help tremendously. The problem is that if you look at most people's friends list on Facebook, or who they exchange messages with on Twitter - and let's face it, outside of Facebook and Twitter, nothing much else has a significant influence - they are largely talking to people and relating to people with a similar world-view.
I am certainly making associations and friendships with people in the USA or Canada or other parts of Europe that without the use of social media would be pretty much impossible, but these are people that I already share a similar world-view with. It is not a great jump from a British perspective to an American perspective or a European perspective. And I think that this is true for most people most of the time who use social media. I do have friends on Facebook and elsewhere that are from the Muslim world and other places too, and I am comfortable and happy with this, but it was not social media that helped me to feel comfortable with people that have a very different perspective on the world. I have spent a number of years living in Muslim countries and this, for me, was the thing that made the difference.
I think that, over time, social media can and probably will impact more and more on the way that we view the world outside of our own cultures. I think that it is starting too, but currently only in a marginal way. For all the people that ARE using social media in a way that optimises the opportunities for human growth, there are also people out there using it precisely for the opposite reasons. There are fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims, for instance, that are using social media to spread their messages of hate. There are nazi and neo-nazi groups doing the same thing. Just as peace-loving or right-thinking people are finding ways to use social media to form relationships with like-minded people around the world, there are also hate-filled people using it to find ways to associate and form relationships with other like-minded people.
One other factor that needs to be taken into account is that social media - and here I am thinking of things such as YouTube and the dominance of music on MySpace - is creating a world culture that is slowly but surely becoming homogeneous. As the culture flattens out, then everyone partaking in it becomes much more easily accessible.
LISA: You're non-political and are involved with groups and individuals in the Middle East and the Native American community to further the aims of 12seconds. What has been the response so far?
STEVE: The response has been extraordinary. It has really taken me by surprise. Initially I had no plans to target anyone particularly with this project. It was, as I have said, no more than my personal little experiment in collaborative video-art. I intended to launch it across several free sites on the internet, which is pretty much all that I did, and then leave it at that and wait to see if anyone sent me anything. That is not far off the current situation either. I have no marketing strategy as such, or particular promotional approach to this other than to keep getting the videos out there and hoping that people continue to contribute. So far they have, and in increasing numbers. I have had a number of fairly high profile people express an interest in it. The Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bryant McGill is very supportive and has offered to help push the project out to a wider audience in a number of ways, and right now it is involved in the early stages with major projects around the New Years Eve celebrations for 2012, a documentary film project being put together by the film-maker Wayne Sumstine, and a few other things. What has been really very encouraging has been the support that 12seconds for Peace has received from a locally based music promotion company in Arizona called Murdock's Trinity Records and Promotions. Todd and Gina, who run Murdock's, have been supporting the project by promoting it publicly at their rock concerts out in Arizona, and more recently in filming 12seconds for Peace videos with people on the streets and at their gigs. It's been phenomenal! I can't express my gratitude to Todd and Gina enough for the fantastic work that they are doing in helping to get the project out there to as many people as possible.
Personally, I would like to see much more engagement within the Middle East. The Middle East is a mess of conflicting ideologies and personal and national agendas built around politics, religion, economics and geography. On top of which is the not always welcome heavy-handed intervention of Western governments who are also running on their own agendas and, as usual, making things worse. There is some support for the project out in Palestine and for a time it seemed as if there was going to be a rush of peace videos from Palestinians, but that has gone quiet for the time being. The problem is, and this is certainly the case in Palestine, that people are giving up hope. They are not even sure what peace is anymore. I am hoping that they will pick up the challenge and the opportunity that 12seconds for Peace offers once more and use it to tell the world of their desire for peace. I think they will. From time to time they check in to see how the project is doing. I think there is a sense in which they are waiting to see if it is a vehicle that can help them in a substantive way, yet their engagement with it is precisely the thing that will grow the project and ensure that it can indeed help them in a substantive way. I am hoping also that the Israeli peace-activists start to get on board with it. There is an urgent need to bring opposing sides together on a very public platform so that the world can see the true nature of the feelings of the people on the ground. Right now the world only sees the biased media coverage and never gets to hear the voices of ordinary people whose lives are being smashed and destroyed.
But on the whole the project has and continues to receive a huge amount of support from around the world. I am just constantly amazed and encouraged by the wonderful words of so many people who see, like me, the incredible opportunities and possibilities within this project. It has been something of a roller-coaster of a ride so far, and I am enjoying every second of it. On a personal level 12seconds for Peace has brought me into contact with some absolutely wonderful and extraordinary people and, regardless of the project's final outcome, for this I will always be grateful.
LISA: One of the elements of 12seconds for Peace is your support of Julian Lennon's'White Feather Foundation'. How did this come about?
STEVE: Way back when I was an art student I was constantly inspired by the music and the work of John Lennon, and of course the Lennon name was and still is something that grabs my attention as a consequence. I just happened to come across Julian's Facebook page one day and was of course interested to see what he was up to. I think that there is a strong public expectation that Julian would be, in some way, carrying on with the work that his dad laid the groundwork for and I wanted to see if this was happening. After a while I started to post little messages to his page about the 12seconds for Peace project and was surprised and very pleased to see that Julian started to respond to them quite positively. A sort of on/off conversation started to develop there and eventually I approached him about some sort of collaboration between his own 'White Feather Foundation' charity and 12seconds for Peace. His secretary contacted me and we put that in place. At the moment that extends only as far as sharing reciprocal links to each others work, but I am hoping that, at some point in the not too distant future, Julian will get on board more with 12seconds. In any case, The White Feather Foundation is doing some extraordinary things and making a fantastic difference to the world on so many fronts, and I felt that it was a golden opportunity for 12seconds for Peace to add its voice to this work and support it in whatever way that it could. Certainly from a fund-raising perspective I would like 12seconds for Peace to be channeling some of those funds in the direction of The White Feather Foundation.
LISA: We live in a highly competitive culture, and you've experienced this with 12seconds. How do you move past it and keep the inspiration and integrity, without being caught up in negativity?
STEVE: It can be a challenge, that's for sure! I don't mind competition as such. After all we live in a competitive society and competition is something that is innate within each one of us - it is a part of our survival mechanism. Competition can be a healthy thing and challenges you to look carefully at what you are doing to make sure that it is the best that it can be. Competition is most certainly not about destroying or damaging what we might call 'the opposition'. It is about growth - personal, inner growth - to be the very best that one can be. I think that competition becomes unhealthy when it is predicated on the desire to damage or harm another. This sort of negative focus serves no one and perpetuates all that is wrong with the world. 12seconds for Peace has had a few minor hiccups on its journey to where it is now, but overwhelmingly the support has been astonishingly positive. Where it has not been, it has not particularly concerned me as I simply don't engage with negativity when it comes my way. I don't have time to waste on it.
I guess that personally, my practice of Reiki is critical in dealing with negativity. Too many people in the world are negatively focused most of the time and when you are brought up in that sort of socially defined, all-pervasive negative milieu, it is hard to think in another way. Life is seen as a hurdle and an obstacle to peace and happiness - something to be overcome. But it is not like that. Life is our ally and an opportunity for expression and growth and learning. My Reiki practice teaches me to disengage from the negative by first of all acknowledging it and experiencing it, but then to reflect on it and come to the realisation that this negativity is actually not serving me in any way at all. Nor do I feel good when I am harbouring these negative feelings. Since my objective is, as it is with everyone else, to feel happiness and contentment, then logically the thing to do is to step back from the negative feelings and observe them with a level of equanimity - acknowledgement but disengagement at the same time. It is not easy, but it can be done. It just takes practice and to keep in mind the objective at all times: fulfilment and happiness: inner contentment.
Keeping the inspiration going is the easy part. I am fundamentally an artist and very positively focused, and the world inspires me all of the time. A few years back when Twitter was still relatively unknown, I started to use it to put out inspirational quotes. It seemed like an obvious thing to do and no one else was using it in that way. The idea caught on and now everyone is doing it.The internet is spilling over with people bombarding the world with inspirational quotes on all sorts of subjects via Twitter and Facebook. I am a bit bored with this now and ignore them most of the time, but back then it was new and something that I felt was a positive use of social media to create and inspire something good in the world. It probably still is, of course, but as an innovation, a creative act, I have moved on from it and want to explore other ways of engaging with people more directly.
New opportunities to create are everywhere and ideas are always tumbling into my head for new projects and new ways of working with 12seconds for Peace. I have a whole bunch of ideas not only for this project and how it might develop in the future but also other projects that follow on from this one. The world is a truly wonderful place and it is full of so many amazing opportunities – it's like picking fruit from a tree really. But you have to bring your own ladder.
LISA: What's your vision of the future?
STEVE: The future will be what it will be. I genuinely and wholeheartedly do not think that there is any point in wasting the here and now in worrying too much about the future. What is more pertinent is our collective vision and action in the here and now - what are we doing that adds to the sum of human experience right now? What are we doing that is making the world a better place for us and our children right at this moment? If we can focus on doing something positive for ourselves and those around us today, tomorrow... as soon as we can, then the future will of course take care of itself and it will be a better place to be for all.
I think it is important to recognise and acknowledge that there have been peace-makers throughout history and these people have profoundly shifted the direction in which humanity has moved. But this is also true of the war-makers that have existed throughout history. We still have wars and atrocities of all kinds and I see no evidence that this is going to change overnight or for sometime. I see no evidence that the peace-makers are going to give up either, of course, and this is, thankfully, as it should be. Peace WILL come eventually but that is going to take continued effort. That effort for peace began at humanity's dawn and it must continue until the goal is reached.
The future for 12seconds for Peace is very bright indeed. It has grabbed people's imaginations all over the world and is turning everyone into an artist - at least for 12 seconds! Art has, throughout history, changed the course of that history. Art is one of the engines of human evolution because it allows for direct and unmediated contact with our deep inner needs to create and express from the vantage point of our highest aspirations. 12seconds for Peace is a collective expression of that need to create, that need to progress and re-form the world anew. And thus, as a collective, it has great strength. It is not my project, my art, my endeavour. It belongs to humanity. It is humanity's endeavour. Whether it will ultimately succeed is anyone's guess, but I certainly, intend to continue this project for as long as I am able or until a better idea comes along that will continue the work of creating peace in the world in a much more direct way.
In the end this is all any of us can do. While there are those insisting that war is necessary, there must also be those who insist that peace is much more necessary.
The legal stuff.
RE: Your video
I hereby grant OmAhHum 12seconds for Peace (“OAH12” ) their licensees and assign the irrevocable right to: (a) edit and rearrange the audio/music/compositions/photography, still and written word ("the multimedia material") as “OAH12” deems appropriate; (b) to use and/or have "the multimedia material " edited and rearranged as “OAH12” deems appropriate and (c) distribute, exhibit, broadcast, and otherwise exploit “the multimedia material" in all versions, digital formats, and ancillary rights now known and to be discovered, in all media, worldwide, and in perpetuity. In the case of musical compositions, this includes the granting of non-exclusive synchronization and master use performance rights within the context of “the multimedia material” only.
Grantor hereby warrants and represents that (i) Grantor has the power, right, authority, and legal capacity to enter into this Release; ii) the granting of rights herein does not infringe upon or violate the rights of any person, firm or corporation.
I hereby forever release and discharge OmAhHum 12seconds for Peace, their licensees and assignees ("Releasees") of and from any and all claims that I may now or may hereafter have against the “Releasees” that may arise in any way out of my participation in “the multimedia material” or out of the use or exercise of the rights granted herein.
“OAH12” shall have the right to assign this agreement and to use and authorize others to use “the multimedia material” in connection with OmAhHum 12seconds for Peace created short visual pieces, for the purpose of advertising, publicizing or exploiting “the multimedia material”for non-commercial gain and for charitable purposes only: to authorize others to produce in any language any of the content, and in such form as or others may deem advisable within the context of the “the multimedia material” only.