Ze Frank

Ze Frank Saves Babies

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밤송이. “Little Chestnut”
Package arrived from Ze Frank

Look inside…

…it is snugly wrapped up.

…and inside is….

…even with instructions for care.

It is true. Ze Frank saves babies. If only it was that easy.

Many of you will know Ze Frank already. He is more than just a comic genius, but provides a refreshing commentary on how we live our lives today. He looks at the small things. He is very good at turning the ordinary into captivating stories.

Earlier this year, I supported a crowdfunding initiative he ran through Kickstarter. He was seeking funding for his new video series- you can find much of it on YouTube. Take a look. Including this piece which he started with: “An Invocations for Beginnings”. See the video which follows at the bottom of these photos.

He had constructed a fish tank inside of which a number of plastic babies had been held captive from plastic lions, sharks and other scary plastic toys. He would save a baby for a particular level of support, and then send that to you.

Here is 밤송이 (“Little Chestnut”), sent to me, named after a fictional character a friend of mine has.

So, we did it. Together with Ze, we saved a baby.

But we all know that this is just for fun. And that this baby is made of plastic. And that this babies parents are a robotic injection moulding system, not real people.

This year, almost 7 million children under the age of five will die. That is a 41% improvement on the 12 million that died in 1990 when the measurement period for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was started. The objective is to reduce this to less than 4 million under-five deaths per year by the end of 2015. While we have made progress, it is not enough.

This project Life Bridge uses the 10 City Bridge as a stunt to ask how might we use our networks to reduce child mortality? We are all survivors.

Ze’s baby 밤송이 is cute, but not real.

Even though it is not real, and even though it was made as just a joke, it can be used to help paint a different perspective on a serious issue that ought to be seen for the great loss of humanity, and not just masses of statistics.

Would you please join my journey, and support me for the adventure ahead? Visit www.pozible.com./lifebridge where you can help. Do it for 밤송이.

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If only it was this easy

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Little Chestnut saved by Ze Frank

Ze Frank recently completed a Kickstarter crowdfunding exercise. I helped out responding to his offer of saving one of fifty babies from toy sharks and lions. The photo is here on the blog post, or click on this link to see all of the babies saved.

Is it alright to include this in a discussion about child mortality? Does it present something overly flippant?

In this case, no. I think it is fine. I don’t intend to make light of a serious problem, but only to suggest that all too often our efforts at ‘saving babies’ are not much more involved than with Ze Frank’s stunt. Neither was he addressing this issue of child mortality.

Rather, it is a reminder of what has been referred to as the ‘White Savior Industrial Complex‘ by Teju Cole in an article that is well worth reading (click the title for the link). Addressing complex social need goes beyond the simplicity of the emotionally charged presentations like we see in Kony 2012 or when we are accosted by charity muggers.

If only making change was this easy. It is hard work. That is part of the metaphor involved in the 10 City Bridge Run running stunt: 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries all inside of one month. Much more palatable just to write someone a cheque, but that is not how things get done.

Ze Frank Is Saving Babies

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Image representing Ze Frank as depicted in Cru...
Ze Frank

Child mortality is a serious issue. This week I have seen two different approaches, both clever, toward raising awareness and building collaboration which help to save the lives of children.

The first is Kony 2012. Read my previous post Reframing Kony? How to solve the world’s trickiest problems for a critique of that campaign. I think that will continue to emerge as a case study in progress that will divide the activist community as to whether it was the right thing to do.

The second is Ze Frank‘s recent Kickstarter campaign to raise money for his next show. Already well oversubscribed above 250%, it shows the strong following and appeal that he brings to his audience. I subscribed to save plastic babies from the sharks he has inside a toy landscape.

See the video at Kickstarter here or watch below:

Ze Frank is not making a joke out of child mortality, and neither am I.

I am contrasting different methods for creating an effect for positive social change. Is one better than the other, or are they just different? Can one leverage a better result in the long term more than the other? What do you think?

Design: Connecting to People

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Image representing Ze Frank as depicted in Cru...
Ze Frank

Ze Frank illustrates his sense of play and how he uses the “interwebs” to connect to people in this TED Talk. At its core, I think this is a design challenge. The ideas might appear spontaneous, but I think there is some craft or thought which is behind it all.

It takes people to connect to people. Watch the audiences enjoyment of watching the performance from Ze Frank. The art Ze Frank produces is first online with people connecting with people. It is wonderful that he can then connect this directly with people through this presentation.

What I really like is that is goes from the seemingly without function (dressing up vacuum cleaners) to addressing real human needs (reconciliation, love, support). Genius.