Racing Extinction

After watching the film Racing Extinction, I thought it deserving of a blog post, because not only is it well done,* I like animals and  I’ve posted about efforts to save sharks and others before but it uses art to get its point across. In writing this post, I realized there have been a series of coincidental confluent events taking place in the process.

manta ray digital obscura projection on Art Is Everywhere

Majestic Manta Rays are just some of the animals featured and with a positive outcome.

At the time of this writing, the film has had over 11.5 million viewers, and just the other day, the video sound collaborators projected inspirational images of near extinct animals on the outside of the Vatican. Confluence #1: I just posted about the Pope and a mural created in his honor in my last post.

Racing Extinction on Art Is EverywhereOK, the location and animation in itself is pretty amazing. Just watch. Note: it requires patience for it starts after 10 minutes of silence with a lot of pauses and shots of the audience at night with only camera phones visible. It’s a meditative piece that is different than the Racing Extinction film but serves a similar purpose. There is no commentary only images and sounds of the animals with beautiful transitions. This gives a lot of time for reflection, which is the objective after all.

You’ll be amazed at how many animals are on the extinction list. Most all of the butterflies that I have painted + my clown fish in my fish tank (precisely because they are in people’s fish tanks and coral reef depletion). These are just to name a few that will hit home.

butterfly digital obscura 1 on Art Is Everywherebutterfly digital obscura 2 on Art Is Everywherebutterfly digital obscura 3 on Art Is Everywhereclown fish digital obscura projection on Art Is EverywhereI had already sent the film information to my husband, who happens to be attending the Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, thinking he might see the Racing Extinction folks in attendance. No report yet but coincidentally and yet probably strategically planned to market the film a the time of this climate change conference. Confluence #2. Instead, I received a beautiful picture of Paris, “the city of [Christmas / holiday] lights.”

Side note: I enjoyed watching the U2 Live concert the same night they just played in Paris. I always wanted to see them play live and I felt like I was there. There were a lot of moving moments and it was incredible how immediate the news was about it, with thoughts of Paris and San Bernadino and terrorism on everyone’s minds.

Paris Lights on Art Is EverywhereBesides man over fishing and killing animals, the film claims that the extinction of some animals is due to climate change. *Here’s where my politics differ to some degree but this is not a political blog so I won’t belabor points here because it’s been a roundabout argument from both sides of the subject. I’ll just say that I agree that some sensible steps to reduce carbon and methane emissions should be carefully considered and where adversely and economically impacted, there has to be a mutual meeting ground in order to get results. I do not believe man is completely in control of the world’s climate — that would be a tall and bold and almost arrogant “projection” to make when the world’s natural climate is changing all the time and there are larger forces than just man alone contributing. Nonetheless, the Racing Extinction group has a petition started on their website, if you’d like to join.

Confluence #3. I had mentioned I had written about efforts helping animal extinction before. This is the film’s main focus. OK, man is one of those animals but primarily it is about other animals with whom we share the planet. The manta ray and rare birds are among some. Confluence #4 will be in a separate post documenting the history of the world’s birds in a mural just completed and about which I just received the story alert at the time of this writing.

Regarding the Oceanic Preservation Society’s film production team: One of the photographers, Joel Sartore, creator of the Photo Arc [I’d like to feature in a single blog post, it is so impressive] and in fact the director, Louie Psihoyos, all work and have worked for the National Geographic, a publication I have been a long time supporter of and even took over my father’s subscription from 1921. I’m still wondering what to do with all the magazines because I’m running out of space, but I renew each year. The visuals and stories are worth reading and I like to support its efforts as well as its photographers, like Stephen Alvarez, about whom I’ve written before. Confluence #5.

Finally, this large-scale film projection is created and “performed” by Obscura Digital, behind the creative force of Travis Threlkel its founder and projection mapping. It is another group about which I’ve featured in a blog post (Confluence #6). Their creative concept is to use not only the Vatican but other buildings while traveling around in a Tesla and projecting on surfaces as moving graffiti if you will is both clever, ambitious and innovative. I’m in awe of the entire production from conception to execution to strategically creating the necessary buzz to spread the word, that there is one thing everyone can do. This in itself, may be an initial start to seeing results. I’ve already started…

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