Photo by Michael Competielle
Our universe is invisibly connected, mapped pathways wired with varying options made by our own interactions in a linear timeline.
Have you ever walked up to a complete stranger in a place of commonality and began a conversation? Uncertain of your similarities besides being in the same place at the same time? Have you had a conversation that exposed your connections, curious why you’d never met or crossed paths before?
Yesterday I was at an outdoor art show in a native farmland landscape. Walking amongst beautiful stone sculptures placed throughout wide open fields and meadows, I walked into a barn and began talking to a sculptor.
Our connection was made almost immediately with common friends and interests. We talked about his amazing work, his mold making and casting process. As we talked he mentioned he had a bell out in a far meadow in which you could ring in the large quiet clearing.
I began to explain to him my interests in bells and plans of traveling the world to record them.
We began to discuss various other artists at the event and how he had visited Japan on various occasions. During one trip he had traveled to Kyoto and visited the Chion-in temple which houses the largest temple bell in Japan. Weighing 74 tons, hanging from a massive wooden structure, the bell is wrung by up to 25 men pulling back a horizontal log suspended from the temples structure.
My new friend told me his Japanese wife helped to interpret a story told by a Monk explaining how Albert Einstein on his only trip to Japan had not only visited but allegedly had climbed up into the bell and had the monks ring the bell. Einstein’s theory was that based on the construction, and physics the bells interior would be void of sound.
My friend was uncertain if Einstein’s theory had been proven and the outcome however the story made another connection in my world. With a strong connection to Princeton University and my introduction to nature field recording, audio ecology and my latest sounds of interest, noise pollution the Einstein connection fuels my narrative.
Walking into most situations and my entire world has become smaller and smaller as my experiences and expressiveness has increased. My travels bring me to places and people that continue to open up my horizon.
The first new vinyl record I ever had was a Star Wars themed compilation which included other space themed songs. My favorite song on the album was Rocket Man and I wanted to go to outer space. My second album I borrowed from my father and never returned… David Bowie’s Space Oddity.
On and off for many years David Bowie would resurface into my life, in his albums, working and touring with my favored Trent Reznor and acting as my beloved favorite inventor Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.
With every Bowie sighting and his explorations, my curiosity and interests have expanded. Stepping away from my comfort zone and finding my inner minds eye, I’ve created more designs, creations and thoughts than ever before.
“I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations. If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting” David BowieDavid Bowie
On January 8th 2016 I headed into my favorite record shop in Princeton to pickup a copy of David’s latest album Blackstar. I also purchased a David Bowie magazine highlights interesting aspects of his career.
My wife and I listened to Blackstar and struggled to understand the album. Still immersed in Bowie I pulled out all my Bowie vinyl and we spend the entire weekend listening to nothing but his work. While listening I began to read the new Bowie magazine and that inspired me to reread Bowie: The Man Who Feel to Earth.
I never felt more connected to David than I did that weekend, as I fell asleep reading the novel.
On Monday morning I awoke early and was checking my iPhone as I read to my horror that David had died. I slapped myself lightly in the face to verify I was truly awake and reading the truth.
I began to cry saddened that Earth had lost our Starman. As I revisited Blackstar and rewatched the video the narrative became clear. Bowie was preparing for his death and transcending into another World.
How is all this connected? I’m uncertain however what I can certainly say that when I’m feeling safe, I always step towards discomfort and find my way. It’s clear to me that inspiration came from David and his belief. David’s work with musician Brian Eno on the Berlin Trilogy lead me to study Eno’s style and creation of ambient music.
As I’ve become fearless of creative risk and reaching out into the dark unknown I’ve taken on the challenge of creative writing. Uncertain of my qualifications or abilities, I was reassured today by one of my hero’s, who shared my article on being creative and taking risks.
My World has never been more connected and tomorrow I’ll try to create experimental sound effects with the human voice ala John Cage.