Submit art regarding gender-based violence to Amnesty International exhibit

I encourage people to submit art or writing related to this issue to Amnesty’s exhibition – they do plenty of great work to reduce violence and human rights violations around the world. I would have preferred the more inclusive terminology of ‘relationship abuse’ or ‘intimate partner abuse’ when referring to domestic violence – however I applaud the way the intersections between society’s marginalizing certain groups of people and violence against them are explored, and the sympathetic treatment of community-based grassroots responses to violence and different forms of discrimination, and the use of art as a healing tool.

Call for Submissions: Amnesty International‘s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign Art Exhibition
Amnesty International organizers for the Stop Violence Against Women campaign announce a call for art submissions. Be part of an inspiring art event that tells women’s and girl’s stories of both struggle and victory over violence and motivates people to take action in support of the International Violence Against Women Act. Exhibition will launch March 8, 2009 and travel to six cities throughout Northern California through June.

Now accepting artwork and media that raises awareness about the diverse forms of violence women and girls face around the world, such as trafficking, body image, Ciudad Juarez, or domestic violence, and that offers inspiration about women overcoming violence such as art therapy or activist campaigns. Anyone is invited to submit. All forms of artwork considered. Submit work no later than January 10, 2009. For an application form, find one attached or email svaw.norcal@gmail.com.       

If you have any questions please contact Renée Gasch at svaw.norcal@gmail.comFor more information on Amnesty International USA’s campaign to Stop Violence Against Women please go here: www.amnestyusa.org/women

Invitation to cross-submit to the 23 Press webzine (seems like a fun project ;)

Occasionally we at Synchronized Chaos find other zines or publishing projects we find interesting and help publicize them. The 23 Press is an independent media project based on Discordian philosophy, a free-thinking way of embracing chaos and contradiction as a jumping off point for creative thinking and personal growth, rather than brushing the chaos under the rug with some type of over-arching system that can too easily become repressive. Inspired by the works of Robert Anton Wilson and others, Discordianism affirms the individual and the local community and grassroots pragmatic efforts to improve the world and create/find beauty while having fun in the process. Many people were into Discordianism back in my college student/hippie activist days and it provided the theoretical background for many of our progressive projects and campaigns. You can read about Discordianism here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism

Call for submissions to the 23 Press:

have  you ever written silly poems, surreal works of short fiction, discordian puns, or situationist epics? drawn ‘bob’ dobbs’ head, recorded merry pranks, written limericks or zen koans or flying spaghetti monster fanfiction? magick? taken photos of hot dog buns?  created any kind of radical discordian art? then oh please send it to us – twentythreepress at gmail.com – so that you can be a part of twentythreepress’ first ever Discordian Compilation Zine! All High Emperors (everyone) who are selected for inclusion will receive a free copy of the project. 

 

 

Please send submissions to twentythreepress@gmail.com

Two charity shoutouts – children’s art needed around the theme of Good Ideas, and encouragement to visit the site of a poet/writer fighting Lyme disease

I’m also helping to put on an art auction of very young children’s art to benefit a global humanitarian project of San Jose State University’s Entrepreneurial Society. As the quarter proceeds we will brainstorm and decide on an organization dealing with some global issue (malaria, AIDS, hunger, child labor, pollution, tree planting, clean water, literacy, etc) and auction art off to wealthy venture capitalists to fund our chosen project. This event takes place December 4th at the reception after we present our own business plans to the investors.

They’re looking for art by young children (any style/medium OK but something that can be hung up on a wall.) The theme is “Good Ideas” – either a business idea they child has, or an invention, or a place filled with things they child thinks are good ideas.

If anyone here has young children, teaches, works with kids, or knows of kids who would like to participate (and the kids can come see their art on the walls in SJ State if they would like) then please send a scanned PDF/JPEG to our vice president Ruth Gonzalez at rkgonzalez@gmail.com with the child’s name, age, and an artist’s statement describing the work.

You may also send artwork via mail to:

Ruth Gonzalez
700 Vasona Street
Milpitas, CA 95035

Also I encourage you to check out http://www.helphealfran.org – website for Fran Varian, a talented poet/author/human rights activist/community builder from San Francisco who’s battling late stage Lyme disease. She was bitten by a tick and came down with recurrent flulike symptoms, then was misdiagnosed for years before finally receiving a correct diagnosis and finding out she needed expensive treatments not covered by insurance.

I attended a benefit auction and art performance for her last night in SF near the Civic Center – excellent variety, from a guy playing bicycle handlebars as a musical instrument, to singers, folk music, poetry, humor, lovely art and music, etc. Some acts were serious and beautiful, others more lighthearted and fun. Lots of love for Fran, which I admired though I’ve never met her.

So if you have some kind of chronic symptoms, please get a second/third opinion, don’t let the first doctor tell you it’s nothing or just stress. He/she might have inadvertently made a mistake and there are diseases which go undiagnosed till they are much harder to treat (Lyme, Crohn’s autoimmune digestive disorder, etc.) Also please check out the site…there is a place to donate but it’s not just about money, it’s about passing the site on, leaving notes of encouragement, perhaps donating some creative use of your time and talent to a benefit auction in your area, etc. People last night were offering to write stories on command, send recipes, etc in exchange for donations to Fran’s treatment.

If people are interested, for Fran or for any other charity or cause readers or contributors support, we can auction off advertising space or host a charity writing/art auction around the holidays. Please let Synchronized Chaos know by commenting and we can all organize something in the next couple of months.

Editorial position from some of the staff as private citizens (contributors and anyone else who helps out with SC feel free to editorialize also.)

 

What follows is an editorial statement endorsed by at least one of the people helping facilitate Synchronized Chaos, as a private citizen without intending to speak for everyone or set policy or a precedent for the magazine. We welcome and publish all comers and all views and hope to encourage intelligent and informed dialogue on issues affecting our world.

I, Cristina Deptula, editorialize as a citizen to support the Author’s Guild amicus friend of the court brief in the Antidote Int’l film company versus Underdogs Inc/Laura Albert case opposing the use of breach of contract claims against authors who choose to disguise their identities for any reason. A number of the Synchronized Chaos staff agree (as private citizens editorializing, as said above the magazine takes no official position and simply serves as a venue for artwork and opinions.) In the interest of protecting those who wish to write under a different name (bloggers wishing to discuss their workplaces without risk of cease and desist orders or getting fired for ‘not being a good fit,’ those who live in areas not tolerant of their race/politics/values/identity/etc who want privacy, those in Burma, China, and other countries with less freedom of speech, etc) we oppose any misguided legal precedent setting that could be turned against a future unpopular author to silence them.

Hopefully we’re closer to having national shield laws for journalists to protect them from legal action for not disclosing sources to whom they have already promised anonymity, too. Reporters should not be forced to break promises and people need the protection of anonymity/privacy at times in order to speak the truth. Government prosecutors should not interfere with the freedom of the press any more than they should with the confessional booth, to respect and allow for the private social functions of those institutions.

(Of course, ethical journalists should do their homework and ask around and not take the word of one anonymous source, either.)

October’s Apparent Theme … Transformation through Surprise

 

Welcome to October’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Webzine! Thank you so much to everyone who has stayed with this project since our first early clumsy posts in August, and to the new readers discovering our group venture.

October saw fewer submissions, and we put in the time to communicate and connect and conduct interviews with many of our contributors about their unique projects.

For example, Melissa Peabody creates artistic nature documentaries meant to inspire as well as educate people about the impact of returning large wildlife species on our urban ecological landscape. Telling the story of the coyote began for her when she and her family suddenly spotted one in an unlikely place, atop a hill near her home. She then turned that experience into an opportunity to convey the majesty of nature and ways humans can live peacefully amidst other creatures. Paul Gamble’s paintings stem from his fascination with the egg…the biological fact and artistic symbol of huge, complex creatures emerging from much smaller beginnings, only to produce eggs/beginnings of their own. The biological surprise which hatches from an egg, and the transformative experience of growth, fuel his fanciful, surreal paintings. Caryn West describes an artistic transformation of her own as she found herself unexpectedly painting a whole series of children’s portraits, and how a simple project for her son’s room kicked off an entire coffee table book centered on international humanitarian issues affecting children. Faracy Grouse’s free verse poetry reflects both the anguish and uncertainty of lost love, and the hope and determination to heal sparked by something as simple as the rain stopping for a moment, or blinking and looking at the city one more time. Seemingly ordinary surprises become extraordinary when her speaker notices them, and takes the opportunity to decide to move forward and love herself again.

I do believe that sudden surprises, small or large, can spark inner transformation. However, as these contributors show and suggest, there is also the component of preparing and positioning oneself to be receptive to and appreciative of the world’s surprises. Isaac Newton may have thought of gravity after an apple hit his head…but his careful thought and years of attentiveness to the world around him prepared him for that insight. So I would encourage us all to see moments of beauty in the everyday, to read and think and learn as much as we can, to hold out an open mind receptive to the possibilities of wherever life has us at the moment.

Years ago I attended a traditional Celtic Samhain/All Hallows’ Eve celebration, and the ceremony leader described fall as a time of increasing darkness – but also a time when seeds fall from plants and lie buried under ground resting and preparing themselves for a new beginning. He explained that many beginnings can seem dark and uncertain – as can many great, necessary transformative stages in our lives. But that if we could trust in our hopes and dreams through the lengthening nights and cooling weather of fall and winter, and take the rest and reflection we need, then there could be hope in the next season of growth.

In keeping with the theme I selected a few of my own pieces which I felt reflected surprise and/or transformation in some way: a nonfiction research article on people’s experiences with new telecommuting technology, and a short fiction piece on a supposed car accident and a woman’s grieving process.

I would like to encourage dialogue, feedback, and networking through Synchronized Chaos – please take the opportunity to comment on other artists’ work, offer to pass on the word about their projects, ask questions, suggest ideas to them.

Happy Rosh Hashanah to my Jewish readers, happy early Halloween/Samhain to those who celebrate. Please enjoy the luscious harvest feast that is October’s Synchronized Chaos!

My short story, “Frozen in Time”

 

We had a little more space than expected this month, which is wonderful in some ways as we conducted in-depth interviews with some contributors I found especially amazing, resourceful, and creative. However, we’d have loved to hear from more people, so please don’t be shy about submitting 🙂 All are welcome.

Here is another short story of mine, I wrote this piece a few years back after looking through an old college photo album. And I won’t give you a whole long intro to my own piece – so it’s just posted below.

Frozen in Time

 

Imagine a series of snapshots frozen in time, each representative of one singular moment, one instance, leaving the viewer to make the connections needed to tell the story.

 

This was the state of Sarah’s mind while she stared at the three-car pileup by the side of the interstate. At the blue sports car and the grayish sedan that had collided with her husband’s aging Honda in the fog, at the crumpled center divider separating the two halves of the road’s curve.

 

The rescue vehicles had already arrived, their workers hauling two disheveled men out on stretchers and checking vital signs before loading them into the backs of two ambulances. Their walkie talkies buzzed as they relayed messages back and forth, asking questions and giving instructions for a series of daily tasks that they knew would never become completely routine.

 

All Sarah could do, as she looked out from her position amidst the moist iceplants by the side of the road, was to watch the scene, without emotion, as if she were viewing a movie. Only time would tell if the paramedics and Highway Patrol officers would be able to save the lives of her husband Jose and their young daughter Sharon.

Continue reading

Some of my own work, because there’s space this October :)

Here is an article evaluating the feasibility of telecommuting as a method of improving ecology and worker morale, summarizing research and interviews I conducted during an informal public online survey. I explore reasons cited by respondents as to why telecommuting has taken off more slowly than expected and look into potential ways to lessen the effect of these negative factors.

Previously published this spring in Global Affairs’ free academic international relations webzine, and reprints are okay. Link to Global Affairs: http://www.globalaffairs.es/

In a Gallup poll conducted near the end of April 2008, United States residents expressed that rising gas prices were one of their main concerns during the current Western economic slowdown. Pollsters asked respondents to categorize issues as ‘crises’ or ‘major problems’ (or minor problems, or not problems at all.) Over forty percent of those polled considered gas prices a crisis, and over half considered them a ‘major problem.’ Gas pricing was more often described as a crisis than mortgage foreclosures, healthcare costs, or job losses.

With these consumer concerns, some employees and employers have looked into telecommuting as a potential method for saving money while also reducing pollution created by daily driving. Telecommuting involves working somewhere other than one’s company office – one’s home, a local coffeeshop, a park – and then communicating online with managers and coworkers.

At first glance telecommuting seems a workable business model: technically possible, offering many benefits to employees and lessening the need for driving. However, United States companies seem slow to adopt the idea of working in a remote capacity, and most employees still commute every day to a physical location.

To explore the feasibility of telecommuting, I posted informal requests on Craigslist throughout April for people to share positive and negative experiences with the business model. I received a good number of positive responses, but other comments suggested more work will be required to overcome technical, social, and cultural challenges if telecommuting is to become practical.


Continue reading

Interview with Caryn West, creator of The Trouble with the Alphabet – international awareness through art and through the eyes of children

 

While stenciling a calligraphic alphabet design on the walls of her son’s bedroom, painter and artist Caryn West developed the concept for her new coffee table book project and human rights campaign.

The book, The Trouble with the Alphabet, features countries whose names begin with each letter of the alphabet and where children live in severe poverty or face danger or other human rights violations. Each section depicts a child’s face, taken from a real photo of someone in that nation, superimposed onto a calligraphic English letter, along with a short poem in the simple, powerful words a child of that land might use. A nonprofit, nongovernmental, nonsectarian organization assisting the children in that area follows, with a description of its purpose and work and with contact information for interested readers who may wish to donate or volunteer.

Although The Trouble is not a traditional children’s book and not specifically targeted to children, West and her family encourage parents to discuss the themes the project raises at home.

…Some people think these issues are too heavy for children, too scary. But I believe we need to start introducing them to the realities of the world at younger ages, to encourage compassion in them.

— Caryn West, paraphrased.

Caryn and her husband Brock explain that this book, along with its associated merchandising and media campaign, attempts to reach people who may want to help out somewhere in the world, but don’t have information on what is going on in different places.

When I chatted with Caryn last week, she pointed out how Mohamed Yunus’ Nobel Peace Prize for starting the Grameen Bank, which provides small business loans to individuals and families in developing countries, gave more publicity to international grassroots humanitarian efforts. She hopes to continue this trend of international awareness of human suffering and ways to prevent or ease it – maybe even inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and ‘cultural creatives’ along a humanitarian path.

Everyone has a gift, she explains. Hers is writing, while others may have great organizational ability and come up with and carry out solutions to world issues. “I would love to be able to reach someone with a gift [in another area], inspire someone who has a solution.”

Her own 18-year old son wants to become a social entrepreneur, founding an organization or business which assists the less fortunate internationally.

I’ll share a few highlights of my conversation with Caryn West:

<!–more–>

 

Caryn has always been curious about other people and ways of life. Beginning as early as age three, when she accompanied her sisters on a plane flight and approached a gentleman a few seats away. At her invitation the two colored a Mr. Magoo book together, and he turned out to be a major league baseball player who then met her family and became her godfather.

She drew her first portrait at age nine, a crayon rendering of Sammy Davis Jr. for a school report. Although she never planned to continue drawing people and personally enjoys the work of the Impressionists such as Monet more so than that of portrait artists, she relies on the portrait theme to make The Trouble with the Alphabet cohesive. That all began with the idea of looking into the eyes of children – which readers do beginning with the book’s cover. “I start with the eyes, then the face grows out of that.”

She chose to focus on children because they are universal in a way. We all were children once, and most people have a soft spot in their hearts for the very young.

Also, presenting a global situation as it might be depicted by children allows Caryn to provide a short, concise summary and avoid overwhelming her readers with information.

Born with a very empathetic personality, Caryn had to stop work at times when she felt overwhelmed by children’s suffering. Her empathy made her life more painful at times, but also inspired her to put so much time and energy into projects such as these.

The project’s artwork stems from photographs of real children in each of the featured countries (although not every photograph she found online represents someone who grew up in the specific country, each pictured child did live there for a time and suffered due to the nation’s situation.) Caryn located most of her photographs through Flickr, and searched more widely known and smaller websites until she found an image that caught her attention.

Caryn intentionally avoided depicting sick or otherwise injured children as that might be too depressing for readers. Fearing simple expressions of pain and suffering would cause people to look away, she aimed to implicitly convey hope through drawing mostly healthy children with complex, individual facial expressions. Fear, uncertainty, or hope in the kids’ eyes would perhaps draw more readers in to the book than simple pain and hopelessness.

She describes herself as a self-taught artist who cannot avoid painting in her own distinctive style. “I’ve tried to emulate other artists, but my work always turns out the same.” Portraits, to her, represent a huge responsibility – conveying the whole likeness and character of a person.

“I’m not the kind of person who smokes cigars in a coffeeshop,” described Caryn. “I never wanted to be an artist [in itself] …all my work comes out of personal conviction.”

Caryn researched the book using a wide variety of sources, everything from scholarly dissertations to prominent magazine articles to NGO sites to local blogs and personal websites. “I aimed to be well-rounded, read up on as much as I could find.” Oman proved the hardest to research, due to the strict control the Omani government exercises over information leaving the country. However, she was aware of their few laws protecting children from child labor, and featured this as a potential problem facing children.

Caryn was extremely cautious regarding accuracy throughout the project, allowing NGO’s to proofread her profiles of their work and refusing to publish anything until she was sure it was correct.

Some people might ask why Americans should give so much attention to world problems when we have impoverished children within our own borders. To this, Caryn replies that while she sympathizes with struggling Americans, this particular book was intended to have an international focus. Also the numbers of affected people and the scale of the issues depicted in the Trouble with the Alphabet cannot compare to the internal issues within the United States.

Caryn views herself as a kind of world citizen, with a sense of love, responsibility, and loyalty beyond her own nation’s borders. And she “goes around wiping away excuses” for people not to try to improve their world. “Look, the bank foreclosed on my home. But I chose to still write this book. Everyone can do something. Even a homeless person can pick up litter around them, or just decide to be kind to people.”

She cites the example of Eric Reeves, a high school English teacher who raised international awareness of the Darfur crisis simply by crunching numbers at home of people dying in the conflict.

Caryn published The Trouble with the Alphabet herself, through an independent American publisher who could carry out the unique six-color hexachrome process involved in rendering the illustrations. She wanted the promptness, full editorial control, high quality, and environmentally sensitive methods (the book is printed on recycled paper) she could find and select on her own. Although her decision was more expensive in some ways, Caryn stands by her choice to self-publish. “We’ve got to first do the right thing, and then see what happens.”

Synchronized Chaos Editor’s Note: A paperback version of the book is coming out for $24.95 in order to reach more people. Caryn would love to reach out to schools and the education sector.

An angel investor helped fund the project, which came as a true blessing as Caryn and her family lost their home in the slowing economy. The book met with initial success, as people tended to buy more than one copy and well-known NGO’s such as the US Campaign for Burma and the Save Darfur campaign chose to be featured. A NGO is now featured for every country in the book except for Zimbabwe, where Caryn’s criticism of President Mugabe would put the aid workers in danger if they were to stand by the statement. However, she still lists ways to get involved with the people of the country.

The Trouble with the Alphabet has begun to receive international reviews, which so far have been very positive. Caryn very much hoped for a positive response from those around the world, as she learned about the situations she describes through extensive research, but it has not yet been possible for her to travel to many of the featured countries. When asked what she might say in response to someone who asks how she can comment on a nation without having been there, she replied that especially now in the Internet/Information Age, anyone can care about those abroad, even those who can’t afford to travel. Some situations (such as forced child prostitution, violence against children, etc) are simply wrong and hurtful to people, regardless of any situation on the ground. And she aims to leave people with a step towards a solution…reaching out to assist a local indigenous (where possible) nonprofit group in the area who knows the situation well and can help improve conditions.

Caryn has kept her humility throughout the project…she feels as if she’s not necessarily an amazing person, but simply used for this endeavor. And she relies mostly on gut instinct, creativity, heart, and networking (online and person-to-person) to promote the book and merchandise.

“I’ve learned never to dismiss any person as irrelevant [to The Trouble with the Alphabet,]” Caryn explained. Creative networking has become a crucial part in her grassroots/inexpensive marketing strategy. And she alluded to many unique stories of people whom she and her husband met through the publicity process, and to people who are already inspired by her writing.

Editor’s Note: I found the book myself through viral marketing, when Caryn’s husband Brock friended me on Facebook and sent me the link.

The Trouble with the Alphabet is available for viewing and/or purchase at http://www.thetroublewiththealphabet.com/home-page/

Coyotes back in San Francisco! Synchronized Chaos speaks with Wild at Heart documentary artist Melissa Peabody

 

A few years ago, residents of San Francisco’s upscale Bernal Heights neighborhood discovered an unusual new resident roaming upon a nearby park’s hill. The coyote, long believed to have disappeared from the urban neighborhood, had come back on its own.

Through her documentary Still Wild at Heart, Melissa Peabody interviews scientists, park employees, and American city residents and, using coyotes as a starting point, explores how humans and wildlife will increasingly coexist in American metropolitan areas and how to make these interactions peaceful and mutually beneficial.

Synchronized Chaos often looks into interdisciplinary projects – artistic technique used to further work in another field, or art/writing inspired by other fields. This documentary exemplifies the use of filmmaking and photographic techniques used not only as arts in themselves to make a film, but as tools to effectively illustrate modern ecological changes.

Interestingly, I came across the flyer for this film in an art gallery, clearly marketed as an art piece, rather than a science museum. These kinds of marketing and genre crossovers are providing a larger audience and more exposure for science-related communication and reviving some of the long Western tradition of natural history presented in an artistic manner rather than isolated as ‘science.’

I discussed the project with Melissa Peabody after watching Still Wild at Heart, and she provided some background information about the making of the film and the concepts behind it. Here are some paraphrased highlights from our conversation:

<!–more–>

Peabody’s background and this film’s inspiration:

She earned a master’s in journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has been involved with scientific and ecological documentaries since the mid-1990s. She has edited films for Turner Broadcasting and Animal Planet and served as primary story researcher and associate producer for KRON’s TV Documentary News Unit. 

Still Wild at Heart began when Melissa saw a coyote on a hill in a grassy park near her home in Bernal Heights. Further sightings became a game with her eight-year old twin sons, everyone looking for a glimpse of the animal and coming back to tell the others.

“I was amazed by this animal. How did the coyote get there, how was it surviving?”

Regarding her vision and process in creating the documentary:

The coyotes serve as a main character/unifying thread in Still Wild at Heart, both as a storytelling device and because in many ecosystems coyotes are noticeable and a main predator important for controlling the populations of other species in the food web.

“Oftentimes it’s the small, untold nature stories which are important…the coyotes gave me a chance to tell many other stories as well, such as those of urban parrots and quails.”

She described (and I noticed while watching the piece) the level of attention paid to conveying a sense of an entire scene in 3-D space, rather than simply depicting a particular animal. The panoramic shots are important in that they give a sense of natural space, of animals existing within an ecosystem rather than simply as isolated individuals or even species. Creating them involved taking hundreds of shots from a large variety of angles over the three and a half years it took to carry out this project.

She also juxtaposes animals with humans and human artifacts in interesting ways – for example, a shot of a coyote eating an apple from someone’s garbage, and another with a magnificent view of a white heron flapping his/her wings and preparing for takeoff – when a cyclist suddenly whizzes across the camera’s field of view apparently without disturbing the bird. Following her gut while creating most of the shots, Peabody uses these juxtapositions to highlight the ways people and wild animals already do share quite close spaces.

On coyotes’ impact on human-inhabited ecosystems, and ecological issues surrounding living with coyotes:

There have never been any violent incidents involving the coyotes of Bernal Heights. Even though that particular hill has people with their dogs on it 24-7, even at 4:30 am when she came out to shoot for the film. And the first coyote Peabody and her family sighted had lived in that neighborhood for more than five years!

Synchronized Chaos Editor’s Note – there have been very few violent incidents involving coyotes and humans anywhere on the record in areas where coyotes and humans live together. Only one person has ever died from a coyote attack.

Some ecologists and wildlife biologists suggest that killing coyotes may in fact prove detrimental to population management and human safety. Coyotes are incredibly territorial, and those already among us who have peacefully integrated into human society may be protecting us from others which may prove more dangerous. A sheep rancher in Western Marin County featured in the film chooses nonlethal population control methods (fences) rather than shooting coyotes for this reason, although he was not previously on the record against killing animals.

Also, some researchers suggest coyotes may teach their offspring how to best survive in any particular environment. The young receive care and feeding by both parents, and scientists believe coyotes to be better at observational learning than wolves or other predatory mammals. Killing adult coyotes might leave litters of orphaned pups with no prior knowledge on how to coexist with humans. Also – coyotes live and travel in small packs where alpha males are more likely to mate (although they are seen hunting mostly in pairs) – so killing alpha males might actually leave opportunities for a pack’s other males to mate with females and thus produce more pups.

Peabody discussed how animals take advantage of the open space in our city’s parks and travel through open space corridors, including backyards and any adjacent ‘green spaces.’ Creating these natural corridors enables species to move from one place to another for mating and/or to search for food. If people keep cities reasonably clean and secure their garbage (and avoid feeding coyotes or any wildlife), then there will be less chance of coyotes coming too close to people and potentially sparking a violent attack.

Coyotes have actually decreased the rodent population in certain areas, which people have viewed as a positive.

Peabody sees this film as an invitation to urban planners to rethink their designs in terms of impact on local wildlife. Some more eco-conscious planning has already started in San Francisco, for example a group of homeowners putting plants in their garden which are hospitable for a rare butterfly known to exist only on two local hills. The homeowners got very excited about the project and about learning about the butterfly and their local ecology, which bodes well for educational coexistence in the future.

“San Francisco is actually becoming a surprisingly green city, with lots of open space. Wildlife sightings are fun for children, and biodiversity can be a source of civic pride.”

On how she views her documentary, what she intends as a takeaway message for Still Wild at Heart:

“This film is a total, unabashed celebration of our ecosystems and wildlife.”

To Peabody, the return of coyotes to our human landscapes is part of the larger story of humans’  relationship to the environment and to wild nature.  Coyotes provide challenges, certainly, in terms of how to change our own behaviors to reduce human-coyote conflicts. These changes on our part include accepting keeping our pets indoors, or on a leash when we walk them outdoors. Keeping our garbage cans tightly shut and pet food indoors, so we don’t attract coyotes to our homes and yards.
In exchange for these small behavior changes on our part, the presence of coyotes and other wildlife in our human environments can greatly enrich our lives, by providing new and valuable opportunities to reconnect to the natural world that we evolved in, and that many of us have lost touch with on a daily level. 
Peabody’s excited to show her film to people of all different age groups, and has already had very positive responses by viewers in the more than dozen screenings of the film so far—in school and college classrooms, media and environmental centers, and film festivals around the country. The film landed a spot in the SF Museum of Modern Art’s Animal Architecture Exhibit this summer, and recently received a Best of Fest Award from the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival in Seattle.
It has also been accepted into the United Nations Association traveling film festival, which will screen in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, London’s Hyde Park, and finally, in Cambodia.
She is also overall very optimistic about our evolving relationship to nature, even in our most urban terrains.
“As people become more aware of animals and ecosystems, we will become more conscious and appreciative of our own place in this deeper and richer world, and our days will be much more interesting.”
This natural history documentary, San Francisco—Still Wild At Heart, has gone a long way towards depicting our relationship to nature and its possibilities for enriching human consciousness, while remaining a work of art with stunning panoramic shots. The film is remarkably accessible and beautiful, and only an hour long.

You may read more or purchase the film at www.stillwildatheart.com

An interview with visual artist Paul Gamble

 Paul Gamble is an Australian painter who anonymously contributed some scanned images of his work to the Synchronized Chaos group on Facebook. We asked around and located him for an online interview.

You may friend Paul Gamble on Facebook and can probably contact him via one of the sites he mentions below where he features his work.

First of all – would you like to describe your process in creating one of your pictures? How does the image get from your head to the computer screen? What steps/media do you use?

Pictures usually come to me via creative imagination, by waking or lucid dreaming, day dreaming you could say. Some images are strong and immediate while other may rumage around in my head for years. All my art is based on drawing, either from my imagination, real objects and things or a combination of both. Sometimes I just copy a picture of something I like just as I did as a boy. It depends on the image.

I usually paint in either acrylics, oils, or synthetic polymer. Mostly on canvas.

Who are some of your favorite artists? Whose work do you admire and enjoy looking at, whether it has inspired you or not?

I admire any one who dares call themselves an artist and who struggles with the creative act on a regular basis.
Leonardo DaVinci, Salvador Dali, MC Escher, Albert Tucker, Brett Whitely, James Gleeson, Mirka Mora

Where do you find inspiration for your art? How do you get your ideas?

Pictures can come from a feeling, a thought, an experience, a word, a song, a sneeze.
Everything I can see, with my eyes, and mind, is art.

I am an artist, so the majority of my brainspace and time is consumed with art. The creation process not only manifests in a physical way via making art but also appears to me in the physical living universe as well.

How long have you been making these pictures? Has your style changed over time?

I have been drawing pictures and image making since childhood. Painting seriously for about twenty years now. My style hasn’t changed a great deal even though I continually change what and how I paint, from picture to picture. I am always searching for something new, that special thing, experimentation is never ending. Make as many mistakes as possible just to see what happens.

Some of your artwork seems to have a fanciful, almost whimsical tone (sorry if that’s not your intention!!) Is there a reason for the mood you’re trying to create? What are you trying to get across to viewers?

I hope my sense of humour comes through in a work, I also hope viewers are intigued and provoked enough to contemplate their own existence in the universe.

I think the whimsical thing comes from continually trying different things. NEXT! picture, lets go.

You use a lot of bright colors in your work that makes it stand out. How do you decide on a color scheme for a particular piece?

Colour scemes always are a self referral process that happens within a picture. I love colour so I always try to combine them to each others advantage. I want my pictures to stand out because I want people to look at them, I want them to be noticed. Bright colour is a good indication of mood.

What about your work, in your view, is different and distinct from that of other graphic artists? What have you innovated or done differently?

Things I do differently? I make paint into 3d objects. Paintsculptures, I call them. Still perfecting that experiment.

Also, my whole egg theory as a conceptual basis for my work. I am unsure if anyone else has or does that.

My inspiration and ideas come from the idea of the egg. Eggs as a universal symbol for creation, as a shape, as a concept, as math, as metaphor, as biology, as a belief system, as the sacred and the mundane, micro and macro. It is what relates us to all life. Everything comes from and is egg.

I notice a lot of anatomical detail in your work, especially the skulls and the birds in flight. Do you have a biology background? Do you work from live or actual animals as models?

I don’t have a biology background – the animal motif stems from my egg concept. Where I can, I use real objects, otherwise I use pictures as reference. Drawing from life is preferred but not always possible.

Where can people find your work online? Are you selling your work online? (We at Synchronized Chaos always encourage people to patronize our featured artists. However, not all of our readers have Facebook.)

I’m mainly on Facebook due to there being no art gallery where I live. My website is still under construction.

Editor’s note: You may also find Paul Gamble’s work on Zazzle.com and on the pictures section of Synchronized Chaos’ editorial and planning Facebook group – Chaos Theory (our former name) on Facebook.

http://apps.new.facebook.com/merchstore/store.php?ch=paulgamble&uid=1386737177

http://www.zazzle.com/pd/find?qs=paul+gamble

Hope that’s enough. If I think of more, I will update. Gotta let the brain soak for awhile 🙂

Poetic work of Faracy Moon Grouse

 

Faracy Grouse

Faracy Grouse is an American writer originally from Minneapolis. She just moved to Britain after four years in Seville, Spain as the resident foreigner in a neighborhood where a man being seen hanging out laundry could cause a building wide sensation.

 

 As a child she was slow to read and write, unable to do either until the age of eight. Instead she would make up the rest of the story or draw pictures to remind herself what she was supposed to have written if asked to read aloud. Dyslexic and excruciatingly shy, she was not able to take refuge in books the way that many quiet children do. Where she excelled was in drawing and creating worlds in her mind.

 

 However, by the age of 11 she was a voracious reader, particularly of non-fiction books about foreign cultures. She knew from a very early age that she wanted to see the world.

 

 She first discovered a love for poetry at the age of 13 through an article on Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in an issue of National Geographic.

 

With the encouragement of a few creative English teachers, she began to write prose and poetry as a teenager.

 After studying voice, she went on to complete a degree in Anthropology and European History, marrying a man she met in Spain and having a child in the process.

 

During the breakdown of this marriage, she took up writing once again. This time it was to survive. She felt that she could write her way out of a terrible situation, and in the end she did.

 She has written a full-length screenplay, numerous short stories and put together several collections of poetry. She is currently working on a memoir.

 

Faracy would very much appreciate hearing your input about her work, and would be more than happy to discuss publication with any who may be interested.

You may contact Faracy at alumine3@gmail.com

 

 

You may read Faracy’s poetry here:

Continue reading

October – Transformation By Surprise – coming soon! Three shoutouts for our lovely readers :)

 

Received slightly fewer submissions for October’s issue but have been able to go into greater depth with each of them. Our theme is… Transformation by Surprise, which I will explain in the next few days or so when the work goes online. For now some shoutouts for opportunities for our artists.

First of all, I recently visited San Francisco’s Valencia Street neighborhood for the Modern Times Books release party of fellow zinesters who produced a guide to community-based approaches to handling intimate partner abuse. Great stories, not technical or boring at all, full of useful information. People from around the world attended the release party, including a traveling performance troupe with members from Zimbabwe, Israel/Palestine, etc. Dropped off Synchronized Chaos cards at the shops and galleries along the way there – also planning to crosslink and mutually promote our zine and theirs (I do this with many different zines with a variety of emphases, would like to consolidate resources and publishing opportunities, promote fellow artists, and encourage networking. I also liked their pragmatic, community based approach to handling an issue without huge bureaucracy.) If you’d like one of their zines please comment here and I’ll put you in touch with them.

Also visited the San Jose Museum of Art, interesting techy Silicon Valley feel with an exhibit on robots, another on old computer memory component history, another on minimalist installations. Sci fi esque – but they take art of various styles and does NOT have to be tech oriented. Paintings, vistas, everything welcome as far as I know. They take proposals from interested visual artists for review by their curators and I took a flyer about where to submit proposals and work samples and will forward it on to anyone who comments and is interested. Preference given to CA artists but CA residence not required. They’re booked for the near future but will consider proposals for later on.

An organization I endorse, the Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley, provides foreclosure intervention and counseling as well as neighborhood improvement projects. Aims to help keep people of all income levels able to own homes in Silicon Valley neighborhoods. They need a volunteer or more to revamp their www.nhssv.org website to make it brighter, more appealing, and easier to navigate. They need translation, a site map, a hits counter, etc…would love to see someone here get involved, if you know how to improve websites this would be a great portfolio and experience building project.

October issue coming soon!!

an interdisciplinary art, literary, science, cultural, and travel writing webzine