“Happiness” in the Amazing Stength Restaurant in Zurich

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“These sweet gems of wisdom by my dear friend Sri Chinmoy
are timeless truths full of encouragement, love and goodness.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Since the opening of the new vegan Restaurant AMAZING STRENGTH at the Müllerstrasse in Zurich (not far from the main station) I was fascinated and attracted by the enterprise owned by the Soyana company, a very dynamic production place for organic tofu and related products. It all started with a Vegelateria, the first Swiss ice cream shop serving ice cream with natural and organic ingredients, not using milk products and white sugar, end of of January of this year. In the meantime the next step could be reached in offering 25 seats in the restaurant adjunct to the Vegelateria. And yesterday the third in a series of exhibitions and events opened: color panels with quotes by Sri Chinmoy on happiness.

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A.W. Dänzer at the opening of the “Happiness” Exhibition in Zurich

The book in connection with the exhibition is called “The Jewels of Happiness”. Author, creative artist and renowned peace visionary Sri Chinmoy offers timeless wisdom and simple exercises for readers of all backgrounds. The complete audio book was released on March 12th with a launch on March 19th in New York City. Luminaries from all walks of life reach read a chapter from The Jewels of Happiness – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Addwitiya Roberta Flack, Narada Michael Walden and Sudhahota Carl Lewis! Perfectly suited to our fast-paced lifestyles, The Jewels of Happiness includes short, insightful sections full of uplifting wisdom, charming aphorisms and easy to learn exercises. Each section stands on its own-with the entire book forming a tapestry of inspiration. “You can have the most joy just by imagining a child infinitely more beautiful than any child that you have seen in this world,” writes Sri Chinmoy. “You have inside you a child who is infinitely more beautiful. Just imagine it. While imagining it, you will get utmost joy.” Each of the 13 chapters in The Jewels of Happiness is on a different theme, such as peace, joy, patience, enthusiasm, sincerity, love, self-giving, humility, compassion, self-trascendence, simplicity and forgiveness.

At the opening of the exhibition there was also a screening of the film “happy” by Roko Belic. The movie takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, the film explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.

Viewers’ Comments: “Happy is one of those movies that will make you a better person for having seen it! An excellent, thought provoking movie that will grab your attention and your heart. This should be required viewing for everyone… There is a well done piece also about what doesn’t make kid’s happy. A great movie that will warm your heart, stir your soul and hopefully make you think about a practical application in your own life.”

“Important movie for the young. This is a movie where the subject matter is far more important than the quality of the movie itself (which is good). Had I received messages like this when I was young, I am sure I would have made fewer mistakes. Young persons understand that happiness is a life goal but they are often confused among conflicting messages on how to get there. By illustrating those who have achieved happiness as well as those who have not, the movie could potentially be very useful in helping young people make responsible and fulfilling life choices. So hopefully this little movie will be recognized as a motivational tool for the young and used in our classrooms and in other venues where teens might be receptive to its message.”

“Amazing. This film will make you happy! What an amazing feeling I had after watching this film. Film may not be the correct term in describing this passion project of genius, Roko Belic… I think the word experience is apt. Funded and executive produced by comedy directing legend Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Evan Almighty), Mr. Belic takes us around the globe in a search for what it means to be happy…and we find it! It is hard to put into words what he has accomplished in this riveting and eye-opening documentary, but we see and feel that true happiness is pretty easy to attain. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor.” 

The exhibition will be on display at Müllerstrasse 64 in Zurich until October 17th 2013 and is available daily during the opening hour of the restaurant from 11 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday. Check it out and don’t forget to taste the “best ice cream of Switzerland” as many say…

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Sahana shares her love for Bengal Music on TV

Sahana from London did a live TV chat show for Bangladesh TV UK talking about how she came in contact with Bangla music through Sri Chinmoy and shared her experiences in Bangladesh where she participated in two huge and successful concerts under the motto “Songs of the Soul”. The interviewing lady talks in Bengali  sometimes, but later on the interview is in English. It was also broadcast all over Europe various Bangaldesh channels. This is the first of 3 parts of this very inspiring show. Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

Canada Pavillon in Shanghai focuses on sustainability

The design and construction of the Canada Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010 (until October 31st) reflects Canadian values of inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity. This three-story structure is the product of collaboration between the Government of Canada and Cirque du Soleil, with building expertise from SNC Lavalin. The curved design creates a large public space that encourages interaction and a community feeling. An angled accessible ramp invites visitors beyond the interior courtyard into the pavilion. A 15 metre by 40 metre green wall of evergreen seedlings is a backdrop to the courtyard. In addition to illustrating a universal desire for green space in urban centres, the green wall also operates as a natural bio air filter. The exterior skin of the pavilion is composed of 4000 m2 of Canadian red cedar, certified by the Canada Wood Association and Canada Wood China. This is an important sustainable aspect of the design. The cedar boards are individually fastened to a steel frame, which allows easy dismantling so the wood can be reused in construction projects following Expo 2010.  The Canada Pavilion public presentation offers visitors a feeling of life in a vibrant, diverse, and green Canadian city. Each individual experience is unique. Every journey through the Living City is personalised by visitors’ imagination and creativity, much the way urban lives are shaped by each individual’s decisions and contributions to the city. The animation and interactive elements of the public presentation are complemented by music and a rich soundscape throughout.

As a thoughtful finale to the journey through the Living City, visitors are immersed in a unique cinematic experience created by Canadian film-maker, Jean-François Pouliot and the National Film Board of Canada on a 150-degree screen. Glimpses: A Human View of the Living City pays visual homage to an ordinary day in the life in a Canadian city. A panorama of images takes visitors on an incredible journey across four seasons. These Canadian moments were captured by Serge Clément and Claude-Simon Langlois, who travelled the country with a small crew in order to capture close to 57,000 unstaged images of people and places. The film evokes a personal story, unique to each viewer.

Beverly Ann Wilson demonstrates the use of crystal singing bowls


Beverly Ann Wilson from Mt. Shasta lives with quartz singing bowls and not only activates them to give us sublime sounds but she also knows how they can help us find our true inner self and learn to live in the eternal NOW. On April 16th 2010 she was the guest on the 2012 and beyond channel and gave a live demonstration with interview, that you can now watch as a replay.

Beverly Ann Wilson has orchestrated and participated in giving workshops and retreats since 1965. She has been involved in the Well Care side of Medicine since 1974 when Prevention wasn’t even recognized. She has lived and worked within the Mount Shasta Community since 1979, where she has The Crystal Room, Crystal Tones at Mount Shasta. She was active in community organization during The Harmonic Convergence in 1987 which heralded the Cosmic Impulse to assist us in raising our vibrational frequencies.  These Impulses and our Response set in motion our path to 2012. While she was working on becoming a Structural Engineer in late 2001, she was given stewardship of over 4500 kilos of crystals and minerals and The Crystal Room was born.  Early in 2002 she was introduced to Crystal Tones’ Crystal Singing Bowls and all of her paths converged into one. As a Master Alchemist, she works with Crystal Tones in creating the Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls: marrying the consciousness of the transmitting aspects of quartz with the vibrational essence of each mineral or metal and our Body Consciousness. She believes that 2012 and the paradigm shift it brings begins in this moment, and with each of our conscious choices in each moment we are in.  She uses her crystal singing bowls and crystals to dramatically demonstrate this understanding within our body consciousness so our cellular body can teach our mind what this really means.

“Lights on” – a visual performance in Linz

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“Lights on” is an audio visual performance created for the Ars Electronica Museum in Linz, Austria, which has a facade that contains 1085 LED controllable windows. The windows’ colors are changed in real-time with music that’s broadcasted on speakers surrounding the building. Visuals are coded in openframeworks by Zachary Lieberman, Joel Gethin Lewis and Damian Stewart, music is by Daito Manabe, with support from Taeji Sawai and Kyoko Koyama. The performance is approximately 10 minutes long. It is an edit. Special thanks to the awesome ars electronica / futurelab crew, (maria, wolfgang, andreas), also Iris Mayer, Carolina vallejo and Rhizomatiks for helping make this possible. also a huge thanks to the technicians of Multivision who helped install the LEDs and made this possible. Some additional info about the install are mentioned here: is.gd/BkP2</p9

Photographers’ Gallery (5): David Clapp

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David Clapp is a British photographer. On his website he presents his philosophy: “My photographic interest surfaced in 2002 when a change of career (from the incredibly dull world of water engineering to the incredible fulfilling world of teaching guitar) gave me fresh perspective and belief that there was some good left in my world. I could actually have a career doing something I enjoyed instead of designing more elaborate ways of skiving off. I always believed music would save me, and it did, but not in the star struck way I once anticipated. So I hung up my headphones and ventured outside. With my hobby becoming full time work, I bought an old Canon T90, the camera I remember from my teens that my uncle wanted. I rapidly collected a bag of iron primes and lugged them all over the Devon countryside, believing images would fall at my feet….naturally it was a total disaster. In the winter of late 2005 with less that 20 good images, I sold a kidney on Ebay and took a large financial risk, buying a Canon 5D… which I trashed it in a river in Scotland six days after I bought it. Thankfully reaching 34 had drummed in a few sensibilities like buying insurance, but I swiftly realised that if I was to pursue such an expensive hobby, just like my lust for other peoples hifi and vintage guitars had taught me in previous years, I had to make money out of it.

My first break came when in June 2006 Digital Camera published some shots I took from a February trip to Valencia and I was delighted. Then three months later I had a portfolio printed in Outdoor Photographer, then Digital Photo, then Digital Camera. For the first time in my creative life I thought might be on to something. And so began the relentless head banging that is marketing. Every knock back made me seething with a mixture of jealousy, self loathing and doubt, but wonderful quotes from lyrics and films (“I’m wanna mean it from the back of my broken hand” for example) drove me onwards and do to this day. Posting images on forums gave me some necessary opinions about my work, something in the lonely world of photography that is very necessary. Communities like Naturescapes.net, Naturephotographers.net and Photo.net help to retain focus in dry times, but the acceptance by Oxford Scientific Films as a contributing photographer in summer 2006, my first agency contract, confirmed that others saw some commercial potential. So I began knocking doors and when they didn’t answer I knocked and banged again and again and again. Riding the agency wave I felt more confident in myself and my work….the glass was most definitely half full, and so began the hardest work I have ever subjected myself to.

Two years later I can barely believe what has happened. I now contribute and sell work through seven agencies, I regularly contribute work to photography magazines and write regular features for the wonderful magazine Digital Photographer who have taken me on as one of the team, an accolade that makes me very proud to say the least. I was also a finalist in the Landscape Photographer of the Year 2007 competition and although I didnt win anything the lift in profile I attained was immense. I had six images in the associated book, including images displayed in the National Theatre in London. If I am not shooting landscapes and seascapes here in the UK, I am thinking about it. If its not the UK then I travel the world as often as I can with my understanding partner Rachel, in search of historical, travel and architectural subjects. She calls photography ‘geeking’ and how right she is. With a head full of apertures, focal lengths, pixels and other nonsensical gibberish to bore her with in airports; after early dawn shoots to coming home from the moors at three in the morning to a hallway full of tripods and camera bags to trip over, this surely must be love. I still teach guitar, and probably always will as one thing in life I have learned is that life all about balance.

Photographers’ Portfolios (1) – Denis Olivier

As a photographer myself and as a former editor and publisher of an international newsletter/magazine for fine art photography, called “print letter”, many years ago, I would like to present some contemporary photographers from time time on this blog. If you know some inspiring photographers or you are active yourself, you are welcome to send me a comment with your e-mail address (that will not be published) so that I can contact you. Also do not forget to contribute to the Photoblog with the largest format of photos (2200px wide), called Photos HD, if you are interested.

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Denis Olivier was born in Royan, France in 1969 and currently lives in Bordeaux. On his work he writes: “My first encounter with photography took place when my parents performed some strange static dances with an object in front of their face. Later they would close themselves up in a special room under the house for long periods of time, and no one was allowed in. They diligently made sure that they were left to their own devices  while inside. One day I was given permission to enter the room and allowed to stay, but on the condition that I didn’t move or went out. I remember there was a unique chemical perfume and a red light. I was bewildered: my parents appeared flashing a white light on a piece of paper using a strange apparatus. Then they dipped it into a clear liquid and Behold! I couldn’t believe it, a miracle! They were wizards who created pictures. In the  following years I didn’t really follow his experiments, I was too young to manipulate cameras and I prefered to draw. Photography, Architecture and Art was always present around us and I still remember the black and white exhibitions that we visited.

When I was a teenager, I continued to draw and started to paint a little. I even took part in some local exhibitions. At the age of 17 I began to take some photographs, I was especially fascinated by mineralogical micro mounts. I started studying biochemistry, but after 3 years I changed to Poitiers school of fine-arts, and took an interest in computer graphics and generated imagery. While I was there I meet Alain Fleig who introduced me to art photography. I also felt a need to practise photography, and with a friend we spent a lot of time learning how to develop films and photographs. We did sessions with models, scenery, and discovered France. The second year I had my first personal exhibition in a gallery, which was a great experience, then a training placement with Philippe Salaün, who was at this time Robert Doisneau‘s developer. Following this I did some jobs for organizations, shows and commissioned works. I then started in December 1995 working with computer graphics and made use of the Internet. I worked in artistic direction for several years, then digital cameras came along and I found a way to work quickly and experiment without using too many resources such as film, chemicals, photo sensitive paper and of course the wonderful resource of water. Now I meet and exchange information with many photographers after the freedom Digital SLRs have given me to have exactly what I want with the different lenses and power features. I continue to produce some material and I’m involved and maintain collaborative projects such as Art Limited or M42.” Olivier’s work can also be found on Art Limited and Facebook. His personal website is here.

Eurobike Green Award 2008 to “r+m”

The award presented to a product with a particularly high value in terms of environmental protection and sustainability for the first time this year goes to the “Jetstream hybrid” e-bike made by riese und müller GmbH, Darmstadt, designed by Stijn Deferm, Markus Riese. The Jury comments “The e-bike does consume energy – but compared to a car, it offers a real alternative. The idea is to create an everyday object that will find broad acceptance. It is so interesting that it will get people onto bikes who normally wouldn’t use a bike. It can be used to cover impressive distances stress-free as well as for shorter trips and provides comfortable mobility that makes life easier. In addition, it can make a significant contribution towards alleviating traffic problems in inner-city areas.” Further informations of the “Eurobike” show and the complete list of awards you can find on this website. Eurobike 2009 will take place from September 2-5, 2009 in Friedrichshafen.

“Ashes and Snow” continues to tour in South America in 2009

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The amazing “Ashes and Snow” Photograpohy and Film show by Gregory Colbert will remain in South America after the successful display at the Zócalo Nomadic Museum in Mexico City this spring. Next places will be Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 2009; the exact dates are not yet available. In the meantime I found a new video on YouTube by Gregory Colbert, entitled: “Feather to Fire”. For those interested in artworks like original prints, portfolios, the soundtrack and the 60-min. film on DVD you can check the website. Also available is a new so-called “Codex”, a collection of photographs, artefacts and letters, that reminds us that the greatest artist of all is nature itself. The Codex Ashes and Snow is bound in original book covers from the 17th century. Since 1992 photographer and filmmaker Gregory Colbert has collaborated with more than 40 species around the world to create a 21st-century bestiary. These images attempt to express the world not only through human eyes, but also through the eyes of a whale, an elephant, a manatee, a meerkat, a cheetah, or an orangutan. The project is supported by the Swiss Rolex company.