A Change for One

Some passages speak for themselves. Below is a wonderful excerpt from Nina Simon’s newest book, The Art of Relevancethat stuck out to me. She is discussing an artistic group called Odyssey Works, a troupe whose task is to create an expansive art piece around a single person. The particular person in the example is Kristina:

“Kristina’s Odyssey Works weekend started with something she loved: Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. Kristina loved all things symmetrical and tonal. Throughout the day, she encountered those perfect piano notes again and again. In a classical architectural space. With her family. Each time, the music was a treat that reinforced her worldview.

Kristina started to relax. The artists who were creating this weekend for her clearly understood her world, her preferences. They weren’t judging her. They understood her. She was in a space of comfort. And so she started to let down her guard, to trust, to open up.

As Kristina’s reservations and judgments faded, the song started to shift. She started hearing different versions of Clair de Lune. Weird ones. Discordant ones. Seven hours and 500 smiles into her weekend, she got picked up at a train station by a car. During the drive that followed, she listened to a version composed just for her: an 80-minute deconstruction of the 4-minute piece. The music was a slow deterioration. It started classical and ended sounding like people chewing on string. It was beautiful noise. It was the exact opposite of what Kristina liked, and yet by that point, she found it beautiful.

Kristina’s whole experience was kind of a deconstruction of form. An unwinding of the structure that rooted her life. It went from something familiar, at the heart of what she already knew, and took her somewhere strange and new. The journey made that foreign destination relevant to her for the first time.

The experience was powerful to her. She said it pried her open. After the Odyssey Works experience, Kristina changed her life. She quit her job, broke up with her boyfriend, moved to a new town…

It was a love letter from someone she’d never met. It opened a door to a new level of engagement was life. It made new things relevant”.

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