The Operating System


Last week, we inaugurated our weekly AWESOME CREATOR series in celebratory collaboration with 100,000 Poets for Change, with a special Editorial “Rendering The Old Model Obsolete,” in which we sought to introduce the community not only to this terrific organization but to the movement it represents.
Echoing that article, let us reiterate that “if this series strives to profile individuals and organizations committed to modeling the use of creative agency – in particular integrating new media practices with traditional/local community building — then 100TPC should be our model.” And so, with these global/local profiles, in which I am corresponding with organizers and gathering documents from events worldwide, we begin to model together.


In their first year, 100TPC boasted  700 Events in 550 Cities in 95 Countries, taking place simultaneously on September 24, 2011, and was described as the largest poetry event in history. In 2012, “100 Thousand Poets for Change Day” took place on September 29, and was scheduled in co-ordination with “100 Thousand Musicians for Change Day,” a new initiative from 100TPC. The precise number of events, cities, and countries for this year remains to be tallied, but suffice it to say it was a even more staggering, astounding success — with documentation arriving daily from all over the world.
As an organization committed to process dialogue and community empowerment, we understand that the act of creating and strengthening connections between creators on a global scale is a deceptively simple one, which might appear to the cursory viewer as purely archival or exhibition based, whereas in fact it is an educational, active, dynamic laboratory for growth: for it is shared action and intention that we align, and, as Nana Nestoros, the organizer for Greece explains to me, it is in this way that “poetry becomes a kind of Olympic Flame from mouth to mouth, passing messages for peace and sustainability, visions that warm the heart and ignite the global will to strive for better conditions for everyone on the planet.”


It seems appropriate that we should begin this series with Greece, and with tireless organizer Nana Nestoros, who coordinated events in herhometown of Volos and a number of other cities in both 2011-2012. Appropriate not only because of its poetic roots, but perhaps even moreso because of the ongoing relationship of creative and philosophic thought, in this country, to the activism of its people — efforts that have drawn global attention more than at any time in recent history, beginning with the first riots in protest of the country’s austerity measures in 2010.
As she explains in an interview after the 2011 event, for Greek poets, artists, and musicians, the opportunity to join with like minded creative people in a nonviolent way to organize towards a common goal of sustainable, humane change could not have come at a more opportune time.
Now a veteran organizer for 100TPC, having helped coordinate events in Athens, Corfu, Lake Vegoritida, Larissa, Salonica, Skopelos/Sporades Island, and Thessaloniki, as well as Volos, I asked Nestoros to talk to Exit Strata a little discussing the potential for change via this movement, how she felt 100,000 poets for change can serve as a catalyst for uniting creative communities worldwide (as well as in cities/localities) in the years to come — as well as to tell us more about the exciting week-long schedule she put together for 100TPC 2012.


She writes,
The events of 100 Thousand Poets For Change in Volos City, Greece, took place from 21st to 29th September, and included a choral festival at Achillion Theatre, poetry readings by more than 35 poets at the Arts Center, as well as performances by Volos Poetry Slam group. (video below left). Most of the poems were inspired by the work of more than 10 painters, whose paintings were exhibited at the Art Center.
The events also included a poetic workshop  at the same Art Center, wherein participants were guided in the writing of collaborative poems which, along with the paintings, were “based on the axis of social andenvironmental concern.” Poets citywide performed outdoors in parks and public spaces to celebrate the final day of events, reading alongside a cadre of committed 100,000 musicians for change participants, who  shared the stage at nearly every event.


Since we were particularly interested in what makes Greece a challenging/exciting/supportive place to create unity, I asked Nestoros to talk a little more about the role that 100TPC — and other creative forms of activism — is playing (and can play) in her home country. She explained how on a local level, they “mostly focused through…poetry on the need for solidarity between the people in this period of crisis,” noting that she and other organizers were “enthalled” at the “vast interest” from poets and audience alike about the movement, something she considers “very significant,” exemplary of an enthusiasm “not only in Greece, but all around the world” for this work.

Nestoros has great hope for the future of this project, and was happy to describe how the events of 100,000 Poets for Change have grown and matured since their inception,
“creating a spinning core of creative ideas expanding around the world, gradually bombarding humans not with bombs of course, but with words of love and peace, compassion and encouragement, emphasizing on the POWER OF THE PEOPLE.”
Echoing and confirming Shelley’s words so many years ago, wherein he states that poets are the “unacknowledged legislators of the world,”  and that “the most unfailing herald, companion, or follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry,” Nestoros expressed her deep belief that

“this is poetry dynamics and its force has been proved through the ages,” noting that “since ancient times any social change or revolution was encouraged and accompanied by poems, epics, lyrics — [and that] poetry undoubtedly has the dynamics of creating change as well as history.”
We could not agree more with Nestoros that

“100TPC is a movement with a real potential for uniting people at an international level,”
and it is for this reason that we, and all the organizers
“do our best to push that lever of change towards equality and peace,” as she puts it. “Guns can only destroy, after all. But words can create visions and visions are ultimately the first step to create the reality of our future.”
AMEN, sister. Amen.
For more information on the Volos events, please see their page on the 100TPC Blog, and check out videos (mostly in Greek, with some music) on their YouTube Channel. The Greek organizers were very active in the creation of posters not only for local but global use, featuring design and art by Milos Odysseas.
Check out the next installment of this exciting series, celebrating the extensive 100,000 Poets for Change events in Mexico with organizer Pilar Rodriguez Aranda!
And, if you are able, consider supporting 100TPC on their page via direct donation HERE. Every little bit helps this essential movement grow and thrive!
and you can support Exit Strata, and our efforts in support of 100TPC at our indiegogo campaign.


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