In a world so big like ours, there are so many different experiences and personalities that it is wonderful just thinking about it. Art has always given us the opportunity the explore its vastness, and with the technology available today, we are getting to know more and more about ourselves and those around us. The 7 Billion Others project, an exciting video exhibition of our planet’s inhabitants has finally arrived to the United States, and will be presented at the Museum of Photographic Arts (currently hosting Hendrik Kerstens) for 30 weeks.
The 7 Billion Others started off with a simple task to meet the Other. For more than seven years, its teams have visited 84 countries and collected over 6000 interviews, creating a priceless collection of world portraits. Bringing together the very core of humanity and catching it on video shows that we all share the same ideas of life and the world around us in the simplest way, and that we are more similar to each other than we ever thought. We are all equal, but not the same.
To demonstrate this very important fact, the creators posed the same 45 questions to all the participants, about their dreams, hopes, fears and life, like “What does love mean to you?” or “What did you learn from your parents?” The answers were the same in many occasions, and they came from anyone, be it a Brazilian fisherman, a Chinese shopkeeper or a German artist. These touching testimonials, spoken in more than 50 languages but channeling the same vision, will all be featured at the MOPA show, reminding us of the unity we can all contribute to.
For this video exhibition, the creators chose a few technicalities that give the participants a chance to express themselves in an identical, yet unique way. Trying to represent the rich variety of people, they interviewed practically everyone - men and women, elderly and the young, individuals of all social backgrounds, professions, religions and ethnicities. Using the same framing and a direct approach, they build a genuine kind of trust that allowed people to fully express themselves and send a message of tolerance, solidarity and without prejudice. The number of these portraits of the world continues to grow as the projects goes on, and after 16 video exhibitions were held in 13 countries, the project is now arriving in America.
The Museum selected 7 Billion Others as its leading exhibition for Balboa Park’s Centennial that commemorates the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The MOPA show will include the Making-Of video, where the viewers can discover how it all came to life. Visitors can also submit their own testimonies through the project’s interactive website: www.7billionothers.org/your-testimonies. The video portraits will be shown in two languages, using subtitles in English and Spanish. The 7 Billion Others video exhibition will be on display at MOPA in San Diego, USA, from February 21st until September 13th, 2015.
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Images and video courtesy of the Museum of Photographic Arts.