Fort Street Mall, HPN Team Fall 09

Gigapan: Hawai'i Pacific News

This is our Hawaii

Welcome to our Hawai'i. The Hawai'i Pacific News (HPN) producers of this edition come from the four corners of the globe. We are based, however, for this project in downtown Honolulu, on Fort Street Mall at Hawai'i Pacific University. Ko Kakou Hawai'i is a title contributed by Jillian Parel, an HPN producer from the Big Island of Hawai'i. The team wanted a title that suggested a uniquely personal relationship to Hawai'i, and a perspective that could be shared, and shared again.

Project Executive Producer and HPU professor Pete Britos decided to involve two semesters of students from different classes in this collaborative experiment. Though scheduled to deliver the viurtual magazine in May 2010, the HPN team also wanted to print and exhibit at least one of the gigapixel images for HPU's end of the year First Look Mixed Media Festival, which this year was held on Friday, May 7th at Cafe Ché Pasta. The printing was done in collaboration with Master Printer Scott Groeniger. For the First Look exhibition, the HPN producers exhibited a 20-foot by 4-foot giclée image of Fort Street Mall on canvas. The large image was hung with galvanized wire and steel clips. Producers and guests at the event had many interesting discussions about the huge print versus the dynamic online image.

Annabelle Beale on location at Makapu'u Beach

Groeniger, a University of Hawai'i professor, commented on the difference between those in the pano who knew they were having their picture taken, and those that did not. The ones who were unaware were like phantoms walking through the time-space continuum. This is one time, offered Groeniger, where the online dynamic image may be more compelling than the huge blown up print. He used the example of a half figure in the image with a watch on his wrist. In the blown up print you cannot discern what time it is, but in the online image you can zoom in and actually read what time it was when that image was snapped.

While crews were free to choose their locations to shoot, there were at times accomodations that needed to be made. The first Pali shoot became the Eaton Square Rooftop shoot; the Tantalus night time shoot became the Tantalus daytime shoot; and what was going to be a panorama of Aala Park and River Street became Chinatown at King Street. And then there are the stories of the places themselves. The crews chose intimate, popular and mythic topographies inhabited or traversed by resilient peoples for generations. Sometimes you feel the presence of these beings. What does it mean when we share the same space? At what point do we become one with the other, as the Hawaiians would understand it? How do we intersect with the cumulative essence of the Natatorium, of Chinatown, or Hotel Street, or the high-rise experience of Waikiki at sunset? At such moments past and present, life and death, can seem to overlap. And there is much to learn at such intersections.

HPN Producer Joey Zager in front of 20-Foot Fort Street Mall Pano

Shooting the pano at the Nu'uanu Pali, that infamous battleground where hundreds plummeted to a grisley death in 1795 as Kamamehameha established his rule over the archipelago, an undercover cop came over to talk story with us. We told him about our virutual magazine project and what the gigapan robotic unit was all about.

We asked him what he was doing here for so long--we had seen him wandering about for over an hour. He told us of a car break in just the day before in the Pali parking area; it was his reason for being up here, cruising about with the tourists, and us. He pointed to forests up the hill on the left and said he thought that's where the thieves hide out, waiting for the unsuspecting.

We pointed high above to the cliff on the right where a white wooden cross draped with straggly leis leaned over the precipice like a sagging sentinel. Yeah, he said, I think someone fell from up there. This place is famous for people dying, we said. Yep, he replied, why, just a couple weeks ago an eighty-one year old man fell to his death from right here, five feet from where we are standing. He had just come from a luncheon with his wife. They were standing here and a gust of wind swept his hat off. He must have had a childhood flashback, because for some reaon he climbed out over the rail to retrieve his hat and plunged to oblivion. Reflecting on this, the HPN crew concluded that it's not always how you live your life, but how you die that defines you.

Nu'uanu Pali, Ko'olau Mountain range

Finally, at the HPU First Look Mixed Media Festival, the HPU Gigapan Magazine Project won the coveted Dean's Award for Visionary Art and Design. Accepting the award for the HPN Gigapan Team were Yukiyo Usami of Japan, and Annabelle Beale of Australia.

This HPN Gigapan virtual magazine project had the support of many people and organizations, including: Hawaii Pacific University, HPU Department of Communication, HPU Multimedia Program, Dean Steven Combs, Richard Palmer, Natalie Lewis, Carnegie Mellon University, Scott Groeniger, Gaye Chan, Erin Courtois, University of Hawai'i Art Department, Kaimuki Camera, Café Che Pasta, Marc Cohen, Sarah and Travis Houghtailing, Martini Zoo, Dror Yaron, Carnegie Mellon University, Global Connection Project, FINE Fellowship Program, Kalamalama Newspaper, Hawai'i State Film Office, Honolulu Film Office, Honolulu Department of Design and Construction,

Gigapan Project wins HPU Dean's Award for Visionary Art & Design: Yukiyo Usami, Dean Steven Combs, Annabelle Beale, Peter Britos
Guest Editor:

The Hawai'i Pacific News (HPN) crew consists of an eclectic mix of international students taking a multimedia course on writing for new media at Hawai'i Pacific University in downtown Honolulu. In the two semesters of the HPU gigapan collaborative project, producers hailed from Kauai, Oahu, Hawai'i (the Big Island), Australia, Norway, Germany, Guam, Sweden, California, Florida, Georgia, Canada, Nigeria, Japan, China, Serbia, Slovenia, the Dominican Republic, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and many other places in between. Imagine all the stories that needed to be told in order to collaborate effectively?

HPN producers write, shoot, design and edit news, entertainment and opinion for several distribution and archival platforms. The Gigapan Magazine project was one deliverable amongst several others. HPN crews self-formed based on affinity, location of interest, pure chance, convenience, prior-friendship, familiarity, etc.

Want to guest edit this magazine? Submit your proposal