In the January issue of TSM I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Gooch, the founder of 12seconds for Peace. This is what he said specifically about it (You can read his full interview to find out more about him).
Jessica: What inspired you to create the 12seconds for Peace project? Tell us about it and how people can get involved.
Steve: As an artist, my first response to the world around me is a creative one. I am constantly responding to life and everything in it from the stand-point of creation and manifestation. As a sculptor, everything in the world has the potential characteristics of clay it seems to me. I find that there seems to be an inherent mutability to everything. So when I come across anything new, my primary response to it is to explore it while endeavouring to mould it in my mind into something new – to discover the inherent potential within it, to find something that it has not yet become, just as I would with any traditional sculptural material.
Two or three years ago, just after the publication of my book on Reiki and meditation, I started to get involved in social media on the internet – primarily as a marketing tool for the promotion of the book. One of the sites that I came across – now sadly gone – was 12seconds.tv. 12seconds.tv was to YouTube what Twitter has been to blogging. It allowed users to upload short video-clips of twelve seconds in duration in the same way that Twitter allows 140 characters of text. It was a very limiting format and not surprisingly in many ways, never really caught on. But it occurred to me that there was within this format a huge creative potential. I started to think about the possibility of making a video-collage by putting together twelve second video clips from around the world all based on the same theme. Bringing together different cultural, social, religious, ethnic and gender perspectives – those aspect of human existence that are usually used as levers for division. I felt that this would be a great creative and expressive act of collective intent or thought. I was thinking at this time purely in aesthetic terms – what a powerful and amazing piece of art work this could be! Then of course my dilemma was to find a theme that people from around the globe would want to buy into – what was going to motivate them to send me a twelve second video clip? Peace was the obvious choice and something very close to my heart, so the theme was set.
Of course, beyond the aesthetics of the project, it then rapidly dawned on me that the act of bringing together voices, faces and emotions from around the world, all focused on a desire for peace, would be a hugely powerful political and social act. Imagine the world coming together over one primary motivating force? It’s awesome! But more than this, because the project was conceived as essentially social-media based, these faces, voices and emotions would not be consigned to the bottom draw of a filing cabinet or fading into memory after the event, as is so often the case with signing petitions or going on street protests. These videos, the collected expression of humanity’s desire for peace, would be out there on the internet, propagated via url’s and embed codes around the globe in all sorts of formats and on all sorts of platforms, and gathering in more and more individual expressions for peace as global public awareness of the project grows. This could go on for a very long time.
So 12seconds for Peace was born in early 2010. I have to say that the response has been phenomenal. I have had videos in from rock bands in Turkey, Bollywood stars, farmers in Canada, lawyers in Lithuania, artists in the UK, housewives in Singapore, media people in the States, peace activists in Palestine…it is astonishing! This is humanity coming together, incrementally, to make their statement for peace – to let the world know that, in spite of the war-mongering efforts of those in power, the mass of humanity desire and insist on peace. Look at what has been happening in Tunisia, Jordon and Egypt in recent weeks. Look at the power that ordinary people have when they decide to gather together and push for the change that they want to see. 12seconds for Peace is however, not nationally focused but globally focused.
I think that this project has huge, unbelievably immense potential for good in the world. No other project has ever given every single citizen of this planet access to having their voice and desire for peace heard before. This is a way for every person on this planet to make a statement and join together with every other person on this planet, collectively and in a spirit of mutual desire for a more just and sustainable world, built on the foundations of a desire for peace. Peace is not so hard to achieve if we all get together and insist on it and make it happen. We have the power to do that. We have all had enough of death and destruction and it is the ordinary citizens of the world that always bear the brunt of this. 12seconds for Peace is one way that everyone can come together and make their claim for their birth-right: to live in a world free of terror.
12seconds for Peace is currently, as it was at the start, on free sites on the net with it’s core built around a blog. At the beginning I didn’t really know if it would be a success or not so I just wanted to trial it in a small way, but it has proven to be a phenomenon with many people and organizations contributing and offering their words of support and so I think the time has come to get it up on it’s own website. What the project also really needs now, more than anything is financial support to help it grow and so I am making a lot of efforts to secure funding.
The core activity of the project has always been to encourage people to make a positive statement for peace. To make their stand and let the world know that they desire peace in the world. You ask how people can contribute: It’s very simple. Make a video statement for peace in twelve seconds and email it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Whatever your level of expertise, whether the video has high production values or is shot with a web cam in a living room, it doesn’t matter. You can just sit in front of your camera and make your statement, or you can do something more creative. However you wish to express yourself is fine. The only real rule for the project – apart from the core one of it being no more than twelve seconds in length – is that the video must be pro-peace and not anti-anything and should not point the finger of blame at governments, individuals, organizations, religions or anything else. It is very simple really. I very much hope that your readers will take a look at the project and the examples of the many videos already there, and feel inspired to contribute to the project themselves. It would be lovely to have a TSM 12seconds for Peace video in fact!
I did create a 12seconds for Peace video that you can view on the right-hand side of TSM on the main page, along with a couple of other ones. NB: Videos will stay up for the duration of the March issue. You can check out more videos @ http://www.youtube.com/12seconds4peace