Saturday, April 14, 2007

Would you recognise something of great beauty if it's somewhere you don't expect?

The answer from most of you to the above question would be "Of Course". Beauty is beauty, regardless of where it is right? Well that was my answer too. My point to asking this is because it was the question posed by this journalist. In his Washington Post article, he talks about how he went about trying to find out the answer to that question.

His idea was really very simple (but ultimately very revealing) - to get a world class violinist to pose as a busker and play in a subway station in New York for around 45 minutes. Would people stop to listen to him considering the quality of his very emotive music (there is a video in the article of him playing)? Or would they just ignore him and hurry on to wherever they were heading to? Bear in mind, this is a guy whose concerts often sell out tickets priced upwards of a 100 dollars. To find out the answer, read the article here.

The article reminded me of the movie American Beauty, namely this one scene where the creepy dude who goes around filming everyone explains to his girlfriend why he does what he does. I actually blogged about it way back in 2003, during what I would like to call my "emo years", can read it if you want.

So after reading the article, is your answer still the same? Mine definitely wasn't. But I would love to see the experiment repeated in a place where the pace of life isn't as fast. Would the results be different?


  1. brilliant! that is one hell of a riveting experiment. i would have liked to see this experiment in two different places : one in some place that claims to be the ultimate avenue for arts and elites- just to see if these people bother and the second of course in a less bustling place where people do actually sit down or relax. just to see if they appreciate it anymore. nevertheless, the result was really quite disappointing. sigh.

  2. Well kweenie to be honest, I would have walked past as well, probably wouldn't have stopped. I mean if it was a really good rendition of a led zep or hendrix song then I probably would. So yeah another interesting variation would be to use a virtuoso guitarist instead of the violinist, does familiarity become a factor?