Jessica Fraser is a film producer and co-creator of Mobile Movement which provides microfinace (either loans or grants) to 15 youth led initiatives in Nairobi, Kenya. As a donor or lender you get to choose the projects and communicate directly with them using mobile phone technology. Mobile Movement partners with the United Nations agency UN-HABITAT and Environmental Youth Alliance – a Canadian non-profit organization. All of the 15 youth groups have been chosen by UN-HABITAT as part of their "Urban Entrepreneurship Program." Here is Jessica's response to What would you like to become more visible in 2011? You can also Download Becoming Visible - the updated collection of 63 essays.
The Harmony of Contradiction
What is a story? It's a contradiction. Everything's a contradiction. The universe is a contradiction. And all of us are constantly looking for harmony. When you get up, night and day is a contradiction…and when you get up at 4am, that first blush of blue is where the night and day are trying to find harmony. Harmony is the notes that Mozart didn't give you but somehow the contradiction of his notes suggests a harmony. It's the effect of looking for harmony in the contradiction that exists in a storyteller's mind. In a storyteller's mind it's the contradiction of
moralities, in a poet's mind it's the conflict of words, in the universe's mind it's between day and night…but the acceptance of contradiction is the telling of a story – not the resolution. The problem with a lot of storytelling in Hollywood and many other films is we try to resolve the contradiction.
Harmony is not resolution. Harmony is a suggestion of a thing much larger than resolution. Harmony is the suggestion of something that is embracing and universal and of eternity and of the moment. Resolution is something that is far more limited, that is finite. Harmony is infinite.
Storytelling is the looking for harmony and infinity in moral resolutions resolving one but letting another go. And creating the question is really important.
The implications of looking beyond resolution and embracing harmony inherent in the contradictions is such an interesting challenge for social entrepreneurs, advocates, activists, citizens, storytellers – human beings. I want to bring this idea to the fore in 2011 in all my work – both filmmaking and my social entrepreneurship passion: Mobile Movement. I have always focused on questions like, 'Who has been given the power to speak?' 'What stories impact us and encourage us to want to listen?'
I believe in the power of story to transform while also believing that people get stuck in story. The contradiction. Looking at Mobile Movement — it's now the question of looking beyond creating a micro-financing and mentorship portal using new technology and mobile phones — looking beyond the resolution and outcomes for young people living in dire poverty – and concentrating on the unfolding of the story – the inherent harmony within the struggle. What continues to interest me is also what is immeasurable – and infinite – in Mobile Movement.
Because the technology is allowing young people from the slums to tell their own stories, discuss their own businesses, engage in their own relationships with mentors and investors – the invisible is becoming visible in a tremendously empowering way.
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