on Danielle Mersch
on Danielle Mersch
Zimoun* is a self-taught Swiss sound artist. Working with everyday materials such as cotton balls, cardboard boxes and plastic bags; Zimoun constructs soundscapes which mind-boggle in their apparent simplicity and staggering inventiveness. Whether it's a clack, rustle, crunch or jangle; Zimoun makes the ordinary extraordinary.
* photo of Zimoun by Aoki Takamasa
Work by Zimoun:
Zimoun nominated the scientist Danielle Mersch who works in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge:
To me almost all experts (people knowing and researching a lot in one specific field) are generally very inspiring. I love getting, at least, a little bit of an idea about the specific universe they are exploring. In that sense, I’m often in contact with some of them. Recently I had such an exchange with Danielle Mersch, who is a scientist doing research about the social behavior of ants. It was incredibly interesting learning more about how Danielle was working and visiting her in the Ants Laboratories of the University in Lausanne.
Images from work by Danielle Mersch (photo credit - Alessandro Crespi):
Danielle Mersch nominated Lucia Prieto Godino, the co-founder of TReND, a non-profit organisation connecting Western and African scientists.
I chose to nominate Lucia Prieto Godino because in addition to pursuing a scientific career, she founded TReND in Africa to promote university education and research in African countries. Research, especially neuroscience, often requires a lot of money, but Lucia set out to show that even with little funding and a lot of willpower and determination it is possible to teach neuroscience and do research even when electricity is not guaranteed around the clock.
Sharing knowledge and ideas is one of the most powerful tools to empower and connect individuals. And that is exactly what Lucia does: sharing knowledge with scientists and students in African countries and empowering them to become their own masters of innovation and research. The saying goes that willpower, determination and courage can move mountains and Lucia illustrates this marvellously, that is what I find inspiring.
Lucia Prieto Godino and her work with TReND:
Lucia Prieto Godino nominated the filmmaker and producer Jonathan Remple:
I am a scientist, and a founder and director of an NGO, but I am also an avid traveler, and an African explorer-lover. I find that I need to combine all of these things for each of them to work, and for me to be happy, of course the one that I devote most of my energy, creativity and time to is the science (also the one that pays the bills), and yet I could not do the science part without those other bits of my life in between. Some people find it surprising that I find time outside the science for those things, but to me that is my comfort zone.
What inspires me is people that live fully, and true to how they feel. People that from the outside might look like they “left their comfort zone” but the reality is that their comfort zone is somehow unusual. I met Jonathan while travelling solo in Rwanda, somehow we spontaneously we ended up sneaking in the back of a closed cave full of bats! I am inspired by people that get a thought (like let’s get down the bus now and see this cave!) and puff! make it happen.
Jonathan left his job to work with a filmmaking team of people at What Took You So Long? This unconventional job means he travels a lot. I find this freedom inspiring. I find his positivity and spontaneity inspiring. And I find his travels inspiring, which of course I get to know about through the beautiful and incredibly artistic videos and photos that he produces.
Work by Jonathan Remple:
Jonathan Remple nominated the photographer Tom Kubik:
Tom reminds me to be honest and humble. I've seen him work and thrive in many environments - from studio still life to political protests to rural Kenyan villages. Every time he picks up the camera, his eye is searching for the soul - for the essence of the moment. He brings that level of intense empathy to every aspect of life. Our conversations about life are as inspiring as the shoots we travel to complete. I've never felt like I was speaking with someone that honest and raw before I met him.
Tom is the kind of soul that attracts positive energy. People yearn to open themselves to him, because he treats them gently, with kindness, without judgement. It's that type of human interaction that inspires me to do what I do as a filmmaker working with international development organizations. I think we can all learn from his style of humanity - honest, forgiving, and forever curious. I have no doubt that he'll continue to produce beautiful content and push our abilities to empathize with his subjects for years to come.
Work by Tom Kubik:
Tom Kubik nominated the entrepreneur and Internet of Things expert Andrew Thomas:
Andrew is an entrepreneur in San Francisco, co-founder of a company called SkyBell. He lead SkyBell to be one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns in tech, raising over half a million dollars. But the brilliant thing about Andrew is not his business sense, which is saying a lot, considering how good he is at that. No, what makes Andrew an inspiration is his commitment to being a good person, his ability to empower those around him, and his deep understanding of the human condition. He just gets it.
No matter if you’re the CEO of Comcast or a server at a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant, Andrew can relate and inspire the best in everyone. He shares his wisdom openly and honestly to any ear that’s willing to listen. Through conversation, Andrew has led me to a greater place of understanding of myself, which helps me express myself more authentically as an artist. Because of his influence, I have a daily practice of a sound breakfast, meditation, daily learning exercises, and creation. All of these elements combined have raised my ability to create to a level I never thought possible and helped me realize how important it is to reach outside the immediate community for inspiration.
Andrew Thomas and his Skybell project:
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