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Everyday People: 'Global Lives' Opens At YBCA

What do San Francisco cable car gripman James Bullock, Indian villager Muttu Kumar and Kazakhstan 5-year-old Zhanna Dosmailove have in common?

The three are just a few of the 10 individuals in Lebanon, Serbia, China, India, Japan, Malawi, Indonesia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and our very own Bay bastion who were captured on video in the course of 24 hours by the Global Lives Project, an effort to document humans in their diversity. Their video works debut as part of a full-blown 10-channel installation opening Friday, Feb. 26, at Yerba Buena Center of the Arts. DJs like Kid Kameleon, Tinker and Chief Boima spin at the opening party, and the free exhibition runs through June 20.

It’s a simple idea, driven by all-volunteer, international group of 500 filmmakers, designers, archivists, translators, institutions, and ordinary people, all in the pursuit of creating a kind of online video encyclopedia.

“We’ve got so much enthusiasm from volunteers from all over the world, what this has really become is a video library of human experience,” Global Lives Project director David Harris told the BBC. “People are already telling us that they’re getting lost in the footage. I’ve talked to someone who said they spent four hours watching daily life in Malawi before actually going there.”

It’s easy to get lost -- or found -- in the fascinating wrinkles you discover in these DIY documents: SF resident Bullock, for example, is the last person you might expect to see zipping himself into wet suit and paddling out on a surfboard at Ocean Beach in the morning before  driving his truck downtown and hopping aboard a cable car for work. Such fascinating images and stories bode well for this far-sighted collaboration.


Global Lives Project opening night party is Friday, Feb. 26, 7:30-11:30 p.m., at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., SF. The exhibition continues through June 20. Free. (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org