ART TO THE RESCUE OF THE PLANET
(Note: The art installation Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave was presented for the first time during a UN 2023 Water Conference special event hosted by Femsa Foundation – Scroll to the end of the post to watch the making Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave.The play LOVE authored and directed by Alexander Zeldin was performed at the Park Armory in New York in from in February and March 2023.)
Somewhere among the routine schedule of meetings, the policy papers, and tightly scripted speeches of besuited officials gathering at the 2023 UN Conference on Water, one presentation stands apart.
A vast dynamic piece of art proposes raising awareness about the urgent water situation in Latin America. Composed of 8,000 ceramic beads, each representing a drop of water, it is the imagined work of New York-based artist Inma Barrero and more than 100 entrepreneurs, leaders of corporations and governmental agencies, artists, activists, and children.
Its name is inspiring: Be the Drop that Shapes the Wave. Its reason for being, however, is frightening.
Over 2 billion people worldwide cannot access safe drinking water or sanitation. During the pandemic, many could not even wash their hands. Until and unless decision-makers act on the critical need to make safe water available for all, the situation will only worsen as the global population grows exponentially. This United Nations meeting in New York City was long overdue.
In Latin America alone, the water shortage affects seven out of ten people, according to the local not-for-profit Lazos de Agua program. That represents 160 million people—that is the populations of Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru combined!
To face this challenge, an artwork co-created by a well-known artist and dozens of people spread out in 15 countries, including children from public schools in Manhattan and the Lycée Français de New York, might seem, at best, decorative.
Or is it?
Biased? Certainly. But I’m Working on It
A conversation with Dr. Violetta Zujovic, Neuroscientist at the Paris Brain Institute
Talk at FIAF and meeting with Violetta Zujovic and Alyse Nelson
New York | March 15th | Decoding Gender Bias | Register Here
Everything that follows in this post is biased.
I would like to write you the opposite, to reassure you, even to convince you of the authenticity of my words. But in the interests of sincerest dishonesty, and according to Violetta Zujovic, a doctor in neuroscience and team leader at the Paris Brain Institute, I am biased.
I might as well accept it. Besides, I am not the only one. “We all are,” Violetta explains.
“Everything around us is a reproduction that our brain creates to simplify our lives,” Violetta tells me. “Our brain spends its time storing information and sometimes reconstructing a reality that is sometimes an illusion.”
By simplifying, taking shortcuts, analyzing, and judging the other as quickly as possible, our conclusions are not based on the reality of a person or a situation. Instead they are the result of a narrowed perception influenced by our experiences, our culture, and our education.
I believe that I should also share here the motivation and context of this paper.
Listen to the Women and Girls of Iran
It was gigantic and staring at me. Everyone around seemed as mesmerized by it as I was: an eye, wide open. It was staring at the sky, too, and it covered most of the steps of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the far end of the oblong Roosevelt Island on the East River, an unlikely urban cable car stop away from Manhattan. In the background, lurking in the shadows, stood the 39-story United Nations building, proud and self-confident.
In that park, at the bottom of the steps that morning of November 28, 2022, every spoken word and every single stare were targeted at the United Nations, at the United Nations and Iran.
When art meets wine, champagne loves it
(Post based on a conversation held at the Payne Whitney Mansion in New York City on October 26th, 2022 during a fund-raiser dinner presented by the American Friends of La Cité du Vin).
In 1973, Château Mouton Rothschild paid tribute to Pablo Picasso, who passed away on April 8th of that year, by decorating the Premier Cru Classé with an Atelier Mourlot printed label reproduction of the 1959 master’s painting, Bacchanale. A century before, in 1874, Louise Pommery created the first brut champagne and became famous for patronizing art and artists.
To celebrate the symbiotic relationship between art and wine, which was highlighted in the 2022 Cité du Vin exhibition ‘Picasso, the Effervescence of Shapes,’ the American Friends of the Cité du Vin invited Maïlys Vranken, President of Vranken Pommery America, and Éric Mourlot for an exclusive conversation. “There are serious dinners in New York,” said the co-host of the evening, France’s Cultural counselor in the United States and director of Villa Albertine Gaëtan Bruel, “and there are joyous ones; this one is a mix of both.”
So, while tasting a vertical of Pommery Champagne, including a Blanc de Blancs Apanage and a Cuvée Louise 2005 paired with a dinner prepared by Tastings NYC-SoFlo and Alain Ducasse veteran chef Laetitia Rouabah, Maïlys Vranken and Eric Mourlot told the tales of their artisanal companies’ own relationships with art and artists.