Filmmaker Spencer Grundler, who filmed the “Human Flag of Peace,” an artistic venture organized by Pablo Machioli on Sunday evening in Patterson Park, said the event came together very quickly.
“[Machioli] had this idea on Saturday of last week, and he called me immediately, and I said if we’re going to do this, we need to do the video tonight, edit it on Sunday, and get it out Monday,” said Grundler.
The 47-second video made the rounds on several local Facebook pages last week.
“Hi. My name is Pablo,” states Machioli in the short. “I am a painter, and I want to create with you a message of peace.”
He told anyone interested in the effort to wear white, to be at Patterson Park on Sunday, and to be ready to be painted.
As 5 p.m. neared on that humid day, it was unclear how many participants would show up.
“A lot of people said they’re going to show up, but..,” said Machioli.
He lost no enthusiasm.
“We’re going to do it even if it’s three people.”
Soon, a few dozen paint-ees made their way to the stage area below the Pagoda.
“I saw the video, I said, ‘Cool, I’m half a block from the park,’” said participant Anne Fresia.
“I love the concept,” said Mollie Fein. “I feel the world right now…I personally feel needs a jolt of positivism in the most broad and caring way.”
Participants laid down in the grass and arranged themselves into a giant peace symbol as Machioli and a good-sized crew of other artists painted their shirts, and in some cases, their pants, their faces and their legs. Machioli went around toward the end and gave everybody a “green thumb.” “This was a very impulsive idea, and I think it is very important to express ourselves in this way!”
Machioli exclaimed happily as he and his friends painted the volunteers in rainbow colors.
“This act will motivate people in different ways,” he said when it was all over. “It just put people together to have fun and think about peace.”
Machioli has also painted the large mural at Streeper St. and Fairmount Ave., “Breathing Peace.”
To view Grundler’s film on the project, search “Spencer Grundler” on Vimeo.com. He said that the video will be posted when he completes it.
by Erik Zygmont