2014: Marcos Cochrane “Making women safe”


Marco Cochrane with his wife Julia Cochrane as interviewer presented this talk at the Innovate Berkeley Social, July 16th, 2014.

Marco quickly goes to the heart of his work and his message, and his life:

“What would it be like in the world if women felt safe and what would it take to have women feel safe?”

Known for his series Truth is Beauty in The Bliss Project of Burning Man, Marco’s  ‘Woman’, is made from mesh a 55 foot essence and form of a woman reaching with every inch of herself toward the sky. She is felt as well as seen;  celebrated at Burning Man’s annual celebration in the desert of Nevada.

Marco is speaking at the Innovate Berkeley event at the Impact Hub Berkeley,  as creative artists, writers, welders, designers and people excited about life and its possibilities,  gather for his presentation.

Marco describes himself as the child of hippie parents raised in Berkeley.  In his early years he was introduced to antiwar and feminism viewpoints.   By age 7 was aware and sensitive to the possibility of the need for radical change.  He was aware, from an early age,  of the insanity of war.   He saw how people treated each other and wondered why,  and what that was about.  His radical question also comes from his attention on women.  Not just attention on the inches and hills and valleys of a woman’s body,  while in the process of sculpting the Truth is Beauty series;  but also noticing the silence, the holding back, the absence of exposure behind the unspoken speaking of the women around him.

Marco’s question “What would it take to have women feel safe?” brings to mind that because of their silence, the withdrawal of their presence, humanity has less to work with.  Marco expresses the value that women feeling safe and free to express themselves, would make their feminine energy available to the world.  He observes that his own ability to speak, to respond,  is easily available to him.  And that is not the case with women.   He observes that men don’t need to have permission to speak.   Men fear other men.  They know they carry  aggression associated with fear for their survival.  They sense it in other men.  Violence against women, rape and abuse, Marco describes as a coping mechanism to keep women silent. The effect is to shut down women.

We need the direction from women that would make the world a different place.”  We have a world where rape and assault, not just in far off worlds, but in our military, in our universities, in our churches, in our schools are constantly being revealed.  The revelations generally are exposed by a woman,  who,  at significant cost to herself,  and often under duress,  speaks.  The different energy that women contribute and the potential of that energy to the world, is what Marco’s words convey.

If women felt safe, their silence would end and the feminine energy of connectedness, transparency, and creative possibilities,  would be available to the world.   Women feeling safe did not come about through the feminist movements or the hippie movements of the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s,  he asserts.  Marcos is intent that the challenge of having women feel safe must being taken up by all.  The implication is that everyone who wants to see the end of violence against women and in the world,  needs to be up for the job.  He suggests we do it because it’s the right thing to do;  because it’s fun, and not out of generosity.

“Its going to take all of us to do it,” Marco says in closing.  In saying all of us,  there is the implication that that means women as well as men.   Women making it safe for women to speak out is the basis for women’s groups and the trust that is built there.  But out here in everyday life,  in the office, in meetings, or social events with our daughters, making it safe for other women is our job as women as well as men.  Women know which women in their lives  make it safe for them and they trust them.

Marco has traveled around countries far and wide to speak to people about Truth is Beauty, his magnificent sculptures celebrating the beauty and spirit of women;  as well as his message about making it safe for women, and what that can contribute to humanity.  The connection is clear.  The job is out there for each of us.  This is what we are left with as we leave the evening at the Innovate Berkeley Dinner presentation.  Amy and Revival has filled us with excellent food, and our minds and hearts are a great deal richer than when we entered because of the opening provided by Marco.  That opening is as high and wide as his 55 foot sculpture and then some.


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