Today marks the International Day of Peace. To celebrate, activist, artist, lover, and legend Yoko Ono has taken over Time Square, one of the most trafficked intersections in New York City to spread her message of world peace and nonviolent action. Ono's films entitled "Imagine Peace" will display this exact message in 24 difference languages. Produced in conjunction with Art Production Fund and Times Square Alliance, they will show half-past every hour on three television screens—the largest measuring 15,000 square feet—throughout the day. The ambitious project is an extension of Ono's Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland, dedicated to John Lennon, which encourages the public to make a wish for a better world. To find out more about her installation we spoke with Ono, who has mobilized peace efforts through music, performance, installations, and "instructions" for decades.
GOOD: "Imagine Peace" aims to spread awareness and encourage the community to take responsibility and promote world peace. How can we turn that message into something tangible that we can do on a daily basis?
YOKO ONO: As you know, your thoughts create reality. The most pragmatic way to create world peace is to use your power of visualization. Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, Imagine Peace. Your thoughts will soon cover the planet. The most important thing is to believe in your power. It works.
: The Imagine Peace campaign encourages people to send in their wishes. What are some of the most memorable wishes you've read since the project's inception?
ONO: We don't read people's wishes. The wishes are suppose to be direct communication to the Universe. Your interception will weaken the power of the wish. All wishes create an upswing line when it is manifested. Therefore, together, it becomes an incredible upswing of power, whatever you wished. Of course, the more high level wishes, which covers the whole human race is stronger than wishing for getting ice cream for your dessert!
GOOD: How did your upbringing and some of the hardships you experience as a child propel you be involved in the peace work you do today?
ONO: I was not too aware of the connection, but the fact that I and so many of us of our generation, have experienced cruelty and severity of war and it's violence during the Second World War, must have been the basis of my feelings for the urgent need to create a better world.
GOOD: You have nearly three million followers on Twitter. Do you think social media and the advent of new methods of communicating are helping us or hurting us as a society?
ONO: What you call the "new method" if it is an effective one, is an ancient way we all know in the depth of our beings. As the mass understanding, it has been forgotten for many centuries. But now, because of the urgent need of our planet, we are starting to remember it, and bringing it out as pragmatic peace action.
GOOD: You've said growing up you always felt like an outsider, and you've been famously misunderstood artistically. Do you still feel that both of those things are true?
ONO: I still have the outsider's vision, which is creating wisdom I can share with the world. The fact that I am misunderstood has always given me an added impetus to work on communication to bridge the gap.
GOOD: You work across many mediums; do you have a particular allegiance to any?
ONO: I love all media.
GOOD: How do you feel feminist art has changed since you began producing work, and what do you think the female artist might still need to address?
ONO: We are still living in the male society. Many women, particularly in the Middle East, are suffering the life without human dignity and justice. We have still a lot of work to do.
GOOD: Who are some of your heroes?
ONO: Lately, so many activists sprung out in the world and they are doing incredible jobs that need much courage and daily effort. I respect and love them all, and the ones who have yet to bring out their potential activism.
GOOD: Aside from your vision for world peace, what are other issues that you are passionate about?
ONO: To have world peace, we all have to have a healthy understanding of what is necessary to bring World Peace. It's not something that will be dropped on our laps. We have to work for it. Until we get World Peace, I think my strongest passion stays in the effort to get it.
GOOD: What would be the one wish you'd write down today?
ONO: For us all to heal the damage done to our planet, it's life and our soul.
Photos courtesy of Art Production Fund and Yoko Ono