Fast Forward: Behind the scenes with Ghost of a Dream

At Little Sun, we believe in the power of the arts to raise climate change awareness and help us imagine a more sustainable future in which everyone thrives. This is why we’re delighted to present you Fast Forward, a series of short films created by artists from Ethiopia, Senegal, and the United States and featuring over 300 global voices. 

By offering open, intimate dialogue and creating accessible stories, Fast Forward aims to show that global, collectivized action against climate change is possible. 

To better understand the motivation of artists to address the global energy crisis through their work, we interviewed Ezra Wube, Ghost of a Dream, Naod Lemma, Jessica Segall, and Selly Raby Kane, all part of the Fast Forward project, and discussed the role of art to light the way toward a more just and sustainable future.

Today, we meet you with Ghost of a Dream, the artist collective behind Aligned by the Sun.

Ghost of a Dream is the collaborative of Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was. They make work about peoples’ hopes and dreams using the ephemera they create while trying to attain these aspirations. Ghost of a Dream has received grants from the Rauschenberg Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and was a Facebook Artist in Residence in 2018.

Fast Forward’s film Aligned by the Sun is compiled of videos of the sunset captured by an artist in every country and autonomous area in the world. This collaborative and unprecedented artwork is ongoing; artists whose home geographies are yet unrepresented in the project are invited to submit their own videos, which Ghost of a Dream will incorporate into the film on a rolling basis, with the expectation that the project will never be complete.

The unfinishability of Aligned by the Sun reflects the arbitrary and incomplete nature of borders. Across history, humans have drawn and redrawn lines on this earth. As borders have shifted, one truth has remained constant: we inhabit a single planet that is sustained by the light and warmth of the sun. Aligned by the Sun invites viewers to imagine a future charted by this fact.

Printed photographs hanging on the wall of Ghost of a Dream's artist space.

LS: What motivated you to be part of Little Sun’s Fast Forward project?

We were very excited to be part of Little Sun’s project to bring awareness to the power of the sun. With Aligned by the Sun we hope to communicate how the sun knows no borders and that we are collectively together on this planet through the light and warmth of the sun. 

LS: Can you describe the main focus of your film?

Aligned by the Sun seeks to unify our fractured planet to show that we all live on one planet, connected by the power of, and access to the sun. Our goal in creating Aligned by the Sun is to connect with artists from each of the world’s countries and territories by asking them to capture a short video of the sun at the end of the day. These collected suns are collaged together by layering the videos and aligning each video by the sun to spark a dialogue about equality, location, migration, and the environment. Our focus is to create a sense of global unification, and a way of being everywhere at the same time, together. By sourcing video from artists in over 200 countries and territories we will make pathways, and build bridges as people, unburdened by the political ideologies of our nations. 

LS: Why did you choose to explore this subject? Did anything, in particular, inspire you?

With the onset of COVID-19, we started thinking about how issues of disease, opportunity, and environment affect us all. As our personal worlds became smaller during the pandemic, it was also abundantly clear that we are globally connected. 

Aligned by the Sun acknowledges that we are connected, and all bask in the light of one sun. It speaks to our unity and similarities as human beings, untethered from the concerns of our personal and political borders. Aligned by the Sun brings hope and positivity through a collective experience. 


LS: What role do you think artists can play in our shift to a regenerative world? 

Artists have the ability to, and in our eyes, the responsibility to, shed light on big issues, allowing people to see things differently. It is sometimes hard to bridge the gap between the solo experience and the global experience. We hope by focusing on the sun, a resource the entire world has access to, and one that is unrestrained by our artificial borders, it will encourage people to think about the world we all share and need to take care of.

LS: What’s been the highlight of working on this project for you?

Building connections with artists all over the world has definitely been a delightful highlight and an amazing learning experience. The process of correspondence, and getting to know a little about so many artist’s personal situations as well as where they chose to film the sun, has been such an enriching process. We are overwhelmed with the support and generosity from these artists who have honored us with their time and their view of the sun. 

LS: How about the challenges? Were there any unexpected surprises?

Making connections can be challenging. We all share the sun equally but do not have equal access to power, peace, health, safety, data, the internet, or infrastructure. Making these connections with artists we have never met and don’t always share a common language with was very hard at times. But overall we learned so much about the world, met amazing artists, and were able to see the sun at the end of the day from all around the planet.

LS: What’s next for you after Fast Forward?

We are continuing on with larger and longer iterations of Aligned by the Sun. First and foremost this project has been about making connections by talking to and researching artists across the world. We are creating a website that serves as a global connection point for artists that have provided content to the video. Here we will collect dialog and experiences from the participating artists. The site will include a web-based video project that allows Aligned by the Sun to travel and be available in every country and territory around the world. 

We also acknowledge our borders are continuously changing, and those who determine borders don’t always recognize everyone. We would like this project to continuously grow, including and recognizing all that want to be recognized. Participants will be able to add to the project through the website if they feel like their country, nation, or territory is not represented.

We will also make an immersive installation where the viewer will stand in a space, surrounded by projections of the sun from each country. The videos will be unified and connected by a common horizon line. We will create an additional single channel video that plays each of the collected films back to back creating a 24 hour sunset that travels the world.

To watch all short films and read more about the Fast Forward artists and advisors, click the button below.