In an announcement that unites a world leader in professional audio innovation with an organization that harnesses technology for social good, Australia-based Fairlight today announced its partnership with human rights nonprofit WITNESS. Fairlight and WITNESS will auction a one-of-a-kind, vintage Fairlight CMI signed by legendary musicians and producers, such as Peter Gabriel and Hans Zimmer.
“We are very pleased to partner with WITNESS and honored to contribute to their important work,” said John Lancken, Fairlight CEO. “Fairlight has spent the past three decades bringing new technologies to the hands of talented and innovative users. WITNESS, too, is dedicated to leveraging the power of audio and visual technology to address our world’s most pressing issues. Together, this auction will provide more tools to the frontlines of today’s crucial social battles and strengthen the voice for human rights.”
At the heart of the Fairlight and WITNESS partnership is a fundraising auction of a vintage Fairlight CMI Series III keyboard. Veteran musicians, composers and producers that used the Fairlight CMI from its early years will sign each white key. The keyboard will be mounted and auctioned in public to music aficionados. All proceeds from the auction will go directly to WITNESS to support its efforts to equip and train local organizations around the world to document human rights injustices.
Several noteworthy artists have already agreed to participate in the project, including Peter Gabriel, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Dolby, Alan Parsons, Todd Rundgren, Mike Oldfield and Jan Hammer.
Peter Gabriel, co-founder and chairman of WITNESS, expressed his gratitude to Fairlight and personal dedication to the project. “I am deeply honored that Fairlight has selected us as the nonprofit beneficiary of the auction,” said Gabriel. “There is great synchronicity between Fairlight and WITNESS since we are both committed to using technology in innovative ways. We look forward to working hand in hand with Fairlight to make this a successful auction and a strong partnership for the future.”
In announcing the auction and partnership, Lancken highlighted the symbolic importance of the project. “A keyboard is a natural, universal form of expression that subscribes to only the language of music,” said Lancken. “In our partnership with WITNESS and the participation of legendary artists of our lifetime, this keyboard is more than 61 keys. It’s a symbol of individuals coming together to support the brave men, women and children aided by WITNESS.”
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2005, Fairlight was an original pioneer of digital audio in 1975 and since then has led the world in some of the most exciting and significant developments of audio and video technology. These advances changed the landscape of music, film and television: first the Fairlight CMI powered popular music in the early to mid-eighties which was followed by the emergence of digital sound-effects for film that used Fairlight’s digital sampling and MFX platforms. Today Fairlight recorders, editors and mixers are used extensively for commercials, TV, feature films and music productions worldwide. In both 2000 and 2003 Fairlight was awarded The Academy Plaque for Scientific and Technical achievement in recognition of its contribution to film. Fairlight has also won numerous design and industry awards including Australian Government grants for its innovative technology.
WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations around the globe, WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video as a tool to shine a light on those most affected by human rights violations, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools of justice.
Since its founding in 1992, WITNESS has partnered with groups in more than 60 countries, bringing often unseen images, untold stories and seldom heard voices to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the general public — prompting grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change.