|Kenji Williams (http://www.bellagaia.com/)|
Kenji Williams creates magic with BELLA
GAIA, Beautiful Earth, his multi-media presentation that offers a global perspective
of planet earth and the magical marriage of science and nature "sharing a world
bridge of music, visual arts, science and unique storytelling" that reminds us we
all live on the same planet and need to be proper stewards.
Kenji Williams: award winning filmmaker,
musician, dad, producer, theatrical show director and classically trained
violinist will be part of The MY
HERO Project's International Day of Peace event September 20, 2014.
Kenji tells us: "BELLA GAIA shows you how
humans and nature are connected and how art and science are connected. It's an
exploration of the relationship between human civilization and our ecosystem
through time and space."
The MY HERO Project caught up with Kenji
recently to talk about his work and his thoughts about peace and creating the
kind of world we would all like to live in.
What was your vision for creating Bella
"The vision was born when I met astronaut
Mike Fincke who lived on the space station for a year. I asked him what changed
when he went to space.
He was a planetary scientist who had liked
other planets better than earth before he went to the space station. But when
he saw earth from space, he had a complete transformation and it became his
favorite. This stunning image that we really are all living in one world
together. From space there are no boundaries. His story profoundly inspired me
to share his transformative experience to those of us who cannot go to space. That
was the initial genesis and from there it was an organic process that kept
|Through the eyes of Astronauts (BELLA GAIA and NASA)|
I kept meeting people and then the doors
started opening at NASA and their support has been amazing. These top
scientists are frustrated that people are not paying attention to their
knowledge and data.
My pitch was that you have to present
scientific info in a way that humans can digest. We need to be moved and
engaged emotionally with left and right brains which is what neuro-scientific research confirms. My initial presentation to these scientists using
their data coupled with music made a great impact on them. They understood.
Now I have this formal relationship with
NASA and they curate a lot of visualizations that are always updating for Bella
Gaia. NASA also funds our education program. a school for engaging youth in
science and environmental stewardship.
Apart from the NASA events, Bella Gaia is an
artistic entertainment show with a concert length touring band that can go from
very simple to huge. This year we finished production of a film version of Bella
Gaia that will be distributed to museums and planetariums with extremely hi
resolution formatted for them.
|Kenji in performance BELLA GAIA (http://www.bellagaia.com/)|
What have you learned about global PEACE by
performing this amazing show about our planet and how interconnected we are?
"I really understood how I think people
sometimes tend to oversimplify peace but with BG you can see the
interconnectedness of humans and nature. There are so many factors about
violence and wars that come back to the natural world. Bella Gaia has opened my eyes to learning
about the complex nature of our world and the reality that sometimes the
solutions are very simple and just need to be implemented.
Despite the wars occurring at the moment,
we are still here, we have not destroyed ourselves yet and that gives me hope
that we can find a way to live harmoniously in the future."
How does using media, art and technology
with people around the world impact their ideas of borders between countries
and us being from one planet and all in this together?
"These are all tools to take down these
boundaries and quite affectively. It's amazing how you can connect with anyone
in the world instantaneously with photos and images in real time. Even language is no longer such an issue with
instant translations, further highlighting the gross nature of these arbitrary
political boundaries and religions that separate rather than bring people
together. This is why I am an artist. It opens people's
minds and hearts."
|Air Traffic seen from Space (BELLA GAIA and NASA)|
Do you think that after seeing your
performance and seeing how it is one planet that we all live on and how
connected we are with Air Travel, ocean currents, etc. they might think about
doing something to save the environment? Start to realize that our collective actions
impact the planet and the environment?
"One of the ways of learning the effects of a massive project like BG is
gathering evaluation s of beliefs before and after the experience. What we have
found is a 90% conversion of the understanding of the earth after seeing BG. More potently, those who feel the earth is
directly connected to their personal life and families went from 31% before
viewing to 64% after. A lot of the current environmental movement
messaging is not only politicized but abstracted by numbers and charts and
realizing that polar bears are far away from most people.
Ultimately humans act on how we feel and
how engaged we are. so the fact that we doubled this number about how the environment
impacts their lives gives us a clue about how to communicate this critical
You recently had a child. how much did that
influence what you do regarding the kind of environment we will be leaving our
children? What would you say to other parents?
"Obviously BG was created before I became
a father so I was already thinking about future generations and thinking long
term. I have a great love and care for all beings past, present and future.
Having a child made it real in the physical sense. It has given me more reason
and energy and motivation to continue."
To parents? Words are not going to change
minds and I have had many experiences with climate skeptics but a recent event
stands out. I was setting up for a show at the DC mall and was having a
conversation with a climate skeptic who did not believe humans were partly to
blame. I said why don't you take a seat
and watch and afterwards he came up to me and said I think you changed my mind.
Sometimes it is one person at a time."
|Kenji Williams performing BELLA GAIA (Kenji Williams)|
What can we all do in small or big steps to
help create change regarding the degradation of the planet environmentally and
with regards to peace?
"First no action can happen without a change
of mind and heart. Action takes various forms and begins by simply talking and
speaking about it with friends and family.
The more people speak out about it the more
it becomes a culture and not a hot button issue and the more it becomes the
norm with expectations that we can make the necessary changes needed. Vote with the dollars you spend. Buy locally. Be aware of where things are coming
from - far or close? I try to shop at farmers markets as much as possible. If
possible, choose where you live so you don't have to own a car. I fly a lot which is one problem I wish I
could solve immediately but I offset when I can by buying carbon credits. I buy
local wind energy for my house from New York State. If you can use alternative
forms of energy to power your house or apartment."
I think on an esoteric and spiritual level
retaining a peace within yourself will emanate in everything you do and how you
interact in the world with others.
That said these actions that impact the
resources we consume are peaceful actions it's not just about climate change or
resources. What we do directly affects what happens in other parts of the
If you have the attention of the world for
5 minutes what would you do or say regarding PEACE?
language is art and performance. So I would perform a 5 minute Bella Gaia
Who is your hero and why?
"Elon Musk because he is a real game changer
for the planet."
We look forward to Kenji Williams bringing
Bella Gaia to The MY HERO Project's Peace Event this September 20th
in Los Angeles.