Earlier this month hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams teamed up with footwear company Palladium Bootsto compile individuals' stories from post-earthquake and tsunami Japan. Williams, having cited Japanese culture and style as a major influence, returns to his inspiration's source, interviewing a dozen artists and activists.
The second installment of the five part series was just released, bringing Pharrell into conversation with a new selection of artists. This video includes the founder of Likten magazine and Chim Pom, a six-person public art collective. The interviews maintain a harmonious balance of sensitivity and positivity, focusing on creativity and action as modes of coping. Just how broad the range of these coping mechanisms are is evident in the 8 minute video, which depicts a placid photography gallery juxtaposed with a raucous political rally. Even the rally contains a mixed bag of reactions: some participants sport gas masks, while others display celebratory face paint. The general attitude remains one of hope, although peppered with frustration and fear.
There have been mixed reactions to the American musician and French footwear brand speaking to a small selection of artists about such a massively traumatizing event. Although well intentioned, is this an appropriate outlet? Interviewee Akashi Oda expresses in the short: "Before you are an artist you are a human being. You just have to do what you can do." And Pharrell, for his part, seems to be doing just that.