EarSay artists Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan today announced the debut of "Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World," a short animated video manifesto featuring the voice and words of Eugene Hütz, leader of the gypsy, punk, cabaret band Gogol Bordello.
The video critiques globalization and multiculturalism as it puts forward an alternative vision of "multi-kontra-culture." Officially releasing online on February 7th, the 4 minute 15 second video is the latest manifestation of EarSay's award-winning multi-media project Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, which features stories, sounds, and images of new immigrants and refugees. CTB also includes a book (W.W. Norton), an audio CD, a traveling exhibition, and a theatrical performance.
In this campaign season marked by presidential candidates describing corporations as persons and immigrants as threats to America’s national security and cultural identity, Globalization: Preventing the Sameness of the World paints a very different picture. The threat, according to the Ukrainian born Hütz — who came to America after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster — is a globalized economic system that spawns soulless, edgeless byproducts “where you can buy all these stupid souvenirs and shirts that you can’t tell where they’re from.”
The antidote to the monoculture of “mall music” and McDonalds, according to Hütz, can be found in the “kontra-cultural layers” of New York City and around the world, "where the best mutations are happening,” where musicians and artists who come from various traditions, reject their traditions, “acquire a distance from it, inhale all this new stuff, and from those two you go into this third position, making an entity of its own... Through mutating it and making it new—you keep the tradition..”
The video, animated by Warren Lehrer with Brandon Campbell, extends the tradition of the manifesto by employing kinetic typography (in conjunction with photographic portraits also by Lehrer) in a free online video. The soundtrack, arranged and produced by Judith Sloan, combines recordings she made of Eugene Hütz expounding, Yuri Lemeshev (also of Gogol Bordello) improvising on his accordion, and the sounds of people on the streets of Queens, NY, the most ethnically diverse locality in the United States.
Lehrer and Sloan also invite viewers to join the conversation on the screening room page of the EarSay website by describing their own views on and personal experiences with globalization, multi-culturalism, kontra-culturalism: http://www.earsay.org/globalization