Ahead of President Obama’s trip to Germany, we reached out to Christoph Niemann — an artist who calls Berlin and New York home — to help us illustrate some of the ways the Obama Foundation will engage with people around the world. “I want to celebrate the myriad ways large and (especially) small in which people around the world can make a difference,” Niemann wrote.
Take a look at the animations and read, in Christoph’s own words, about the art and its meaning.
Civic commitment, at both a community and personal level, are key to tackling the challenges we face. It’s important to remember that empathy, tolerance, and civic spirit are not burdensome virtues needed in extraordinary moments — they are pillars of everything that is worth celebrating about modern life. Art has a similar function. Like music and literature, it’s not decoration or distraction from bigger issues — it is a fundamental part of what it means to be human.
With my animations I want to celebrate the myriad ways large and (especially) small in which people around the world make a difference.
In “Perspective,” (above) I show the fluidity of “local” and “global.” I might have an almost identical perspective on many aspects of life with a person who lives 6,000 miles away. At the same time, my view might be light-years away from the views of my next door neighbor. The greatest challenges we face, like protecting our planet, require that we become better at focusing on what is far and near.
Celebrating our shared values and the fact that we’re all different are not mutually exclusive. In “Zipper,” (above) I want to show that an event like the Kirchentag is a unique chance to build communities made from strong and independent individuals.