Christian Forestell from BikiniLines.net kindly took the time to answer some of my questions, so please read the interview.
1. We would like to welcome you to UnderWorld Magazines. Please introduce Yourself and tell us the idea that started Bikini Lines?
My name is Christian Forestell, I’m a Toronto-born, Tokyo-based entrepreneur, occasional artist and almost architect. Any successes I’ve had owe a great & equal debt to William Gibson, Sir Richard Branson, Ando Tadao, Banksy and Marshall McLuhan. I’ve worked in Tokyo for just over 8 years in the media and technology sectors and have developed an ever so slight reputation as somebody with a keen sense of developing unique collaborative systems that skew convention. Bikini Lines is my most ambitious offering to date, which grew organically from my experiences with post-quake Tokyo. To be honest, my friends viewed me as uncomfortably flippant about the whole Fukushima meltdown situation while I viewed them as being overly worried; we both watched the same media but absorbed it differently.
2. Tells us a little about how The Dome project will work?
It can be said that, conceptually, Bikini Lines is a direct result of the irresponsible journalism that valued “impact” over clarity. “Are we safe here?” was -and is- a common subject. Of course Bikini Lines grew into something approaching mass-scale collaborative art, but the idea to paint the Cactus Dome is directly tied to the “are we safe?” issue. For readers unfamiliar with the Cactus Dome, 46 nuclear tests were carried out in the vicinity in the 10 year period from 1948 – 1958. Radioactivity is de rigueur. The Cactus Dome was built to contain radioactive debris from numerous test sites yet has been declared safe for habitation since 1980.
The question, though, as ever: “is it safe”?
3. Can you please tell us how The Dome project will helps the design community?
It is certainly historically significant, intimidatingly remote, largely forgotten and sublimely esoteric. It is also the concrete canvas upon which the world’s largest painting, viewable in Google Earth, will soon be painted by a team of relative strangers working towards a common goal. The mechanics motivating the collaborative nature of Bikini Lines are actually quite simple and seemingly worked themselves out: the design to be painted on the dome, the official on-site videographer, photographer and blogger/writer will be crowd-sourced with the winner being decided by open online competition & debate.
4. What makes Bikini Lines better than all the companies out there that are doing big ideas like you guys?
To clarify: any artist in the world could provide us with the winning design to be painted on the dome. Any videographer could become the Director of our associated feature length documentary. Any photographer or writer could become our on-site journalist. The project itself will be partially micro-financed with inexpensive ($25 USD) artist submission fees and reward-based donations; in fact a lot of care has been put into incentivizing the project and making it as collaborative, open and exciting as possible. We would love it if some highly talented yet relatively unknown artist provided the winning design: their new-found reputation would allow them to further explore their own art without worry; the same can be said for the winning director, photographer and writer. Through conscientious art & adventure we hope to launch the careers of tomorrow’s influential artistic elite.
5. We would like to take this time to thank you for answering our questions. I think our readers are very interested in what you do. Do you have a final thought for them?
Finally, I’d simply like to extend upon McLuhan’s work and challenge readers to really consider the why & how of media creation & distribution. We believe that with a strong idea, clever licensing, freedom of distribution and long tail passive marketing, the Bikini Lines Documentary Film will continue to directly benefit worthy organizations such as Ashinaga.
Oh yeah, I suppose I forgot to mention: 100% (one hundred percent) of the sales of the Bikini Lines Documentary will forever be donated to the Ashinaga Foundation, an NGO that benefits children orphaned in natural disasters. Gotta spread the love.