[ a p a ]

artist, passerby

"Spectator of a World Running Upside Down"


To Travelers…

Since school, so called « Knowledge » to us is inculcated, the so limited knowledge of Encyclopedias to us is imposed.

From an institution to an other we learn to reproduce patterns. We have become champions of conceptualization and intellectualization of phenomena… to such an extent that we have forgotten humility, genuine compassion, common sens, discernment, constructive and benevolent critic, true respect for differences.

Our lives are daily enriched of a more and more sophisticated material comfort, that the richest of all man a hundred years ago would not even have dreamed of. Yet we remain in a permanent dissatisfaction. We are so enwrapped in this materialistic and identity quest that we forget to cultivate our minds and our hearts.

We own more and more means of communication, but know less and less how to communicate with respect, sincere carefulness and simplicity. We assume that the way we see the world and « others » is The right one, our way we do things the most appropriate, our way to live life The best one. In such a reality, is there any space for a little every day self-questioning, to learn to observe the world from new angles by having the courage to truly let our beliefs, concepts and ideas on the side ?

We spend much time kipping our minds busy, permanently entertaining and distracting them… We no longer « have time » ! We are in this era of fast-foods and this « feeding-mode » without consciousness does not only obtrude our bodies but also our minds. Minds in need of « Vitamin-W » (Vitamin of Wisdom) and in lack of spirituality, true relaxation and « break ».

We see ourselves as civilized because surrounded by sophisticated technology and we continue to imagine the traditions and people of the past as primitive simply because they did not have all this « material comfort ».

However, by taking a closer look at it, the major difference between these traditions we call primitive and us, is that they used objects and loved people. Today we are reduced to use, even enslave people and nearly worship objects.

« Civilized » and « Free »… are we as much as we believe it ?

DOWNsideUP uses « Image », in its primary sens of course but also in a more figurative and symbolic way.

It’s global philosophy and its camerawork « induce » reflection and the questioning of our perceptions so relative.

Among many others, one of the project’s aspiration is to invite the viewer to consider the world from new perspectives, while he or she often sees it from only one angle : the one he/she so spontaneously calls « The » Reality.

DOWNsideUP is also a tribute to an extraordinary young woman gone a little too early, but with whom I had the tremendous opportunity to share six wonderful years of Life… As we were on vacation in Canada in June 2008, Mylène accidentally drowned in a lake after having a seizure (epilepsy). Mylène had learned very early that if she wished to live « normally » and achieve her dreams, it was preferable for her to hide this difference. So much that at the age of 25, Mylène decided she did not have epilepsy, denying it completely.

After the accident, I started wanting to « make some noise » about this neuronal disorder which affects more than 10% of the world’s population … yet so unknown. This orientation lasted a few years until I realized that the problem is not to have epilepsy but to be : Different … and this « handicap » no longer affects 10% of the world’s population, but 100%.

Remedies to this disease are numerous, but not available in pharmacies and drugstores in the form of pills, capsules or other so-called miracle-products that are shoved down our throats constantly and that today’s world is full of.

These remedies are called: Tolerance, Genuine Compassion (not pity), Observation and analysis of phenomena, Overcoming our preconceptions and illusions, Sharing, Patience, Generosity, Respect, True Understanding of how things work, Ethical Conduct …

Long is the list … But the process of evolution may only be activated by beginning to apply all this to our own selves.

Our identity is very much relative. If we honestly observe the undergone distress when life takes away an element that the « I » considered to be « his », it is easier to foresee this relativity.

How can we respect or love Others as we hardly know who we really are? It is to be said that we live focused on outward appearances … difficult in this case to give much importance to an inner-world, yet so vast and rich …

In the beginning of this adventure, I’m neither gymnast nor photographer … yet after Mylène’s death, a « choice » imposed it self . The choice to open up, welcome a huge unexpected suffering and use the cards I had in hand at that time to go on, grow and try to find a new « balance ».

It is on the way, over rich encounters and wise advices that the balance of the body and these photos were refined . This project for Genuine Tolerance should be seen as an opportunity to a true awareness for each and every one of us … an invitation to an Interior Journey, more than an outer one.

Far from any ecological or demagogic propaganda, this project aims to highlight the importance of Finally Growing Up and truly awakening our minds by realizing our individual responsibility in the process of evolution for a better Humanity and greater Peace.

Enjoy your ride and take care !


Xavier [apa] Escalère