Over the next few days newspapers and news sites will be awash with reviews of 2011. Prominent amongst them will be pundits commentating on the role of social media in organising protest on the one hand, and spreading violence on the other. In both cases the role of social media will probably be exaggerated in the interests of a tidy headline.
Be that as it may, the power of social media to connect human beings and harness their shared aspirations and talents is undeniable. Whether it is The Littlest Star on a local level, or the Cairo protests on a global stage, social media provides a facility for human beings to magnify the impact of their individual actions. Artists Kyosuke Nishida, Brian Li Sui Fong and Dominic Liu wanted to celebrate this as they had seen it demonstrated in the messages of love and support flooding into post-tsunami Japan on Facebook and Twitter. They came up with the poster below, entitled ‘Words can fly’. The artwork is inspired by the Japanese tradition Senbazuri, where 1000 paper cranes are folded to give as a good luck gift to the recipient. In the artwork below, the cranes represent messages of love and support sent after the Tsumani by the people of Montreal to Japan.
As the birds take flight from the paper, so the words have taken flight from a computer or a phone in one part of the world, and flown to another. I find this to be an overwhelmingly beautiful piece of art. It combines ancient tradition with modern networking, and celebrates the best which the human spirit can offer. You can find out more about it here.
Still thinking about my favourite image of 2011 here on the Preachers’ Blog, but this one definitely comes close.