Head of State Haiku

Today’s DS106 daily create tdc568 is to write a nonpolitical Haiku about your nation’s head of state.  How can you write or talk about your nation’s head of state without mentioning politics?  I am personally uncomfortable talking politics in any form unless I already know that the audience or person I am speaking with shares the same ideas as mine. That is just too hot of a topic for polite conversation, along with religion. [Link to July 1, 2013 Pew Research Center survey of common words describing Obama & Bush]

But since I’m getting in shape for the Aug 26th start of the 2013 Headless DS106 Course boot camp, I took on the challenge and was able to complete it.

Mister Obama
Husband, Father, President
Man of Confidence

This is not the first time I have been up against a challenge to create a piece of digital storytelling that tap danced on the edge of politics.  In 2009 a composer friend of mine, Elizabeth Alexander, asked if I would create a music video for her choral composition of “Where There Is Light In The Soul” based on the Chinese Proverb:

Where There Is Light In The Soul

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.

If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.

If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

She gave me full creative license to choose the photo images for the piece, with final approval on completion.  As I was trolling Flickr for creative commons photos I came across the White House photo stream. I was intrigued.  Hmmmmm….  the concepts of beauty, person, harmony, house, nation and peace could all be found in those images.  But because they were photos of a political figure there would be controversy no matter how I presented it.

CommonValues_DedicationPlaqueI tried several other image themes, and nothing else fit as well.  So I took a deep breath and cautiously went to work collecting and assembling the images to match the lyrics of the music.  When I had a first draft ready, I shared it with Elizabeth, and she too had an uneasy feeling about the potential political controversy that could become associated with her music.  We were both very sensitive to the other’s creative artist and in the end agreed we were okay with giving it a try, and if there was a problem I’d take it down immediately.  As it turned out there was no problem at all and on last count the final version of the video “Where There Is Light In The Soul- 1st 100 Days” has been viewed over 3,000 times.

NOTE: I was very much a novice when I created this video in Windows MovieMaker back in 2009.  I thought it would be powerful to begin the movie in silence as the text of the poem and my dedication played for the viewer. This lasts for almost 45 seconds. The dramatic effect I was going for ended up confusing more than a few viewers, thinking there was something wrong with the sound on their computer. I learned from this mistake.

More Interesting Links:

Fall 2013 Headless ds106 Course: HOW IT WORKS

Fall 2013 Headless ds106: SYLLABUS

link to 2012 boot camp blog post


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