Some time ago Tech Insider published a piece about our co-founder’s latest TED talk, her story and what we at Fine Acts are trying to do, calling it “one of the most chilling TED Talks of all time”.
Now Yana’s talk is online and you can watch it!
In less than six months, we organised a second Fine Acts Labs edition, our innovative format that we call hack-art-athon. The event brought together 12 multidisciplinary teams of artists and technologists for an intense weekend of collaboration on issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, climate change and pollution and media freedom.
The format resulted in engaging art & tech project ideas that raise awareness or contribute to solving a concrete problem.
The project that won the jury’s support was Fakery (to be launched in May 2019), led by technologist Ivan Shulev and artist Iliyana Kancheva. Their project addresses the rising concern with fake news and disinformation.
See all project ideas here, which are open for use and adaptation!
See the full photo gallery from the event.
If you’re interested in organising an event in your city, see how at actlabs.co.
Fine Acts Labs (now ACT Labs) are unique events that explore the intersection of human rights, art and technology, and develop a range of solutions - from immersive, participatory art pieces to apps with a strong art component. By communicating human rights issues in new, unexpected ways, we seek new avenues to inspire action and attract support.
We are thrilled to share that our co-founder and Executive Director Yana Buhrer Tavanier has been invited to join President and Mrs. Obama in Chicago later this Fall, for the inaugural Obama Summit!
The Obama Foundation has invited civic leaders from around the world to come together to exchange ideas and explore creative solutions to common problems.
We cannot wait for this incredible opportunity to connect with amazing people committed to creating positive change, get truly inspired and do more work that matters.
Hello from TED Global! Yana is spending 10 days in beautiful Arusha, Tanzania, immersed in brilliance & passion & ideas, with a bunch of the Fine Acts collective members and advisors.
We are already stirring up a few new and exciting collaborations. More news soon!
Until then we leave you with this first fascinating talk from the conference, and this thought: "We are all already here, and that answers the question of whether or not we belong".
Photos: Bret Hartman & Ryan Lash, TED
We are thrilled to announce our new initiative - Fine Acts Labs!
Fine Acts Labs is an innovative format (we call a hack-art-athon) that invites activists, artists and technologists to work together and prototype art & tech projects that raise awareness or contribute to a concrete solution.
Supported by mentors, teams of artists and technologists work together over a weekend. A jury then awards the best ideas with funds for further development.
By communicating human rights issues in new, unexpected ways, we seek new avenues to inspire action and attract support.
The pilot event took place on 14-16 July 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and was dedicated to women’s rights. Read all about the first edition here!
Want us to organise a lab in your city? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week we had the honour and privilege to talk at the United Nations headquarters in NYC, presenting our work of bridging human rights and art to instigate social change.
Fine Acts represent!
This happened in the context of the 10th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Here our co-founder Yana is addressing the Civil Society CRPD Forum, in a session moderated by Michel Servoz, Director-General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission.
A massive thank you to our awesome partner, the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-profit Law, and the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN, for the invitation.
On Wednesday morning Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, woke to a surprise – seven sculptures have popped up across its center. The sculptures are a result of an art intervention protesting the lack of women’s monuments in the city.
MONUMENT #1 is a series of sculptures by the Bulgarian artist and designer Erka, created in collaboration with Fine Acts. The work seeks to raise awareness about the lack of monuments honouring notable women in Bulgaria - a EU member state.
According to official data from the Sofia municipality, there are no monuments of women historical figures in the city, and less than 6% of all memorials (most of which plaques) are dedicated to women. None of Sofia's existing memorials commemorate important events for the women's rights movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
The brightly-coloured busts were placed at some of the most central locations across Sofia during a covert early-morning action on Wednesday, March 22.
For this art intervention Fine Acts teamed up with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), the country’s leading human rights group, and got the support of the ad agency Tribal Worldwide Sofia.
“The sculptures are a portrait of me. I wanted to take a strong personal, public stance as a contemporary woman and artist and say - enough. However, they are also anonymous, as they do not bear my name, just a sign: “The first monument of a woman in Sofia”. In these sculptures I am every woman. With this work I want to give women what they are entitled to but have been denied for decades - a place, visibility and recognition”, says the artist.
“Our mission is to bring together activists and artists from across the globe to work on collaborative art projects that instigate social change. What we observed in Sofia for just a couple of days was an art intervention that shone a spotlight on a problem that somehow remained unquestioned for decades, stirring up a huge public debate and getting thousands of people engaged”, says Fine Acts’ Co-founder and Director Yana Buhrer Tavanier.
The problem with women-free public space is not reserved to Bulgaria.
Currently UK’s Invisible Women campaign aims to challenge the staggering inequality in numbers of civic statues of women and men.
A recent campaign in New York protests the fact that presently there are no statues honoring real women in Central Park. Women are only represented in the park by statues of Alice in Wonderland or Mother Goose, as well as by angels, nymphs and allegorical figures. The campaign advocates placing a statue of women’s rights pioneers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the park.
An edict passed by the Kreuzberg district in Berlin, Germany, requires that streets and public places be named for women until parity is reached with men, part of a longstanding debate over official efforts to undo entrenched gender roles in German society.
“The lack of monuments, honouring historic women, enhances the wrong perception that women have no valuable accomplishments or that they have not contributed to the development of society”, says Svetla Baeva, Campaign Director at the BHC.
The seven sculptures are to be exhibited at a prominent Sofia gallery in April, and later auctioned. All proceeds will go towards funding the placing of the first monument dedicated to a woman in Sofia.
Citizens are invited to sign a petition, addressed to the Sofia municipality, demanding the adoption of a strategy for closing the gender gap in public sculpture in the city. Hundreds have already supported the call to honor women who have contributed to development of the city and country. An ongoing poll is collecting information on the public’s favourite for the first monument.
The awards honor projects and concepts that offer innovative solutions to the issues facing humanity. A panel of 25 expert judges combed through more than 1,200 entries from around the world to find the most innovative ideas to make the world better.
The Future is an ongoing work by Alicia Eggert and Safwat Saleem, commissioned by and created in collaboration with Fine Acts. It is a series of data-driven sculptures that illuminate critical human rights issues affecting people around the world.
Our work is one of ten finalists in the Photography/Visualization category of the World Changing Ideas Awards, and is also highlighted in the April issue of the print Fast Company magazine.
Thrilled to share that Ana has been named a 2017 YTILI Fellow.
YTILI (Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative) is a program of the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Looking forward to new transatlantic opportunities for Fine Acts.
We are super excited that Fine Acts was selected as one of 50 ideas for Europe, by the European Cultural Foundation.
With its focus on “Moving Communities”, the 2017 Idea Camp follows an open call for "daring ideas to build societies with greater equality, sustainability and solidarity, and a stronger sense of social justice".
We are spending the week in Madrid with a group of inspiring individuals, aiming to challenge anti-democratic practices and amplify voices excluded from the public debate.
Alison Killing’s Migration Watch tells the story of the refugees’ and migrants’ journeys and takes a closer look at the issues behind events that are still unfolding.
Bringing together real human stories, new writing, immersive data visualisations, and academic research, Migration Watch is a '10-day real-time' interactive documentary, following the fortunes of ten refugees travelling to and through Europe, in search of a better life.
Migration Watch allows you to:
The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) recognized Fine Acts by just naming Yana as Fellow!
UPDATE 2018: the other two Fine Acts co-founders, Pavel and Julie, are now Fellows of the RSA too!
Being awarded a Fellowship is considered an honour, as fellows must have demonstrated “a high level of achievement related to the arts, manufactures and commerce.”
The RSA is a British organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges. Founded back in 1754, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1847. Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee are some of the most notable past and present Fellows.
The Future, a series of data-driven sculptures by Alicia Eggert and Safwat Saleem, in collaboration with Fine Acts, is currently on display at the glorious Dallas Aurora. For the first time, there we are showing three sculptures that illuminate the overall state of peace, death penalty and marriage equality around the world.
The word "future" is written in Mandarin, Hindi and English using lightbulbs representing every sovereign state. The lights are lit for countries at peace, who allow same sex marriage and who have dropped the death penalty. The number of light bulbs suspended in the air corresponds to the total number of bulbs that remain unlit on all three signs, representing the potential for a brighter and more peaceful future.
Go and see the work if you are around!
In Texas we are exhibiting not one, not two, but three sculptures! The Future #1 that premiered at TED2015 was focusing on conflicts around the world. The works we are showing in a little over a week illuminate the overall state of peace, death penalty and marriage equality around the world.
We are thrilled to announce that Fine Acts was awarded a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant.
The funds we received in May contribute to:
seeding the production of new work;
travel to meet existing and potential collaborators and partners;
rebuilding and redesigning the website;
The Shuttleworth Foundation’s Flash Grants are awarded to a collection of social change agents, no strings attached, in support of their work. Each award is worth 5000$.
We are extremely grateful for the support that further fuelled our mission - to bridge human rights and art to catalyze social change.
Proud to be featured as one of “12 women breaking new ground in the arts”, together with a bunch of brave and inspirational artists we are happy to call friends.
Meet 12 women breaking new ground in the arts on the TEDFellows blog -- photographed by Bret Hartman during TEDSummit in Banff, Canada; with words by Karen Eng. Thank you, two insanely talented people.
From the article:
"I believe it is time for an empathy revolution. A global movement calling for respect, equality, dignity, and justice, with art as a catalyst,” says Buhrer Tavanier. “Many human rights workers today struggle to translate formidable issues into a language that makes people care, and compels them to act. Mere facts and statistics don’t do the trick, neither do reports or statements on their own. Art, however, can create a visceral response. Art can make the distant feel personal."
In this talk, Laura shares haunting photos of cluster bomb survivors and asks those who still produce and condone the use of these weapons, including the United States, to abandon them.
One photo from Laura’s featured Survivor series is part of Fine Acts' first collection, PEACE: Mohammed’s prosthetic legs lay on the sofa at his home in the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiyeh, in Tyre, southern Lebanon.
Survivor is a photographic exhibition that focuses on cluster bombs a world problem, as these munitions keep destroying and hurting whole communities for generations to come. Laura Boushnak has been photographing Mohammed for 10 years, following his transition from a child to a young man, his life increasingly becoming harder.
Mohammed lost both legs when he was sitting behind his father on a motorbike and drove over a cluster bomb near Tyre in the last week of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. Handicap International says children make up 24% of casualties, and Mohammed is one of many cluster bomb survivor children across the world.
We are committed to taking action to help those seeking safety. Our Fine Acts projects are still in development, but in the meantime here are some links to action and charity groups working to provide aid. You can support their work through donations, fundraising and volunteering. And do let us know if you have links we can add.
Tech Insider just published a great article about Yana, her story and what we at Fine Acts are trying to do.
From the article:
"I believe we are only alive through others," Tavanier says. [...] "We have a voice only if we help others speak, [...] and our power is measured not by how many people you crush, but by how many we are able to lift and carry on our shoulders."