A Whole New Mind: Symphony (and Sufjan)

May 2nd, 2007 at 1:36 PM

Pink’s element of ‘symphony’ is “the ability to put together the pieces … to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields … to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.” (130)

Pink uses the example of real life symphonies to explain this “big picture thinking” skill. An amazing example of ‘symphony’ I experienced this Spring was watching Sufjan Stevens and his nine-person crew perform. If you’re not familiar with Sufjan, he’s an eclectic indie musical genius.

Late at night after the show, I wrote:

Sufjan has discovered how to tell old stories in new ways. The music is unmethodically tight and complex. The storytelling is unusual and entertaining. The video is a welcome additive. The costumes are wildly eccentric. Sufjan is an experience.

He’s captured what Pink is getting at: Sufjan’s made the banjo cool again and rock stars out of band geeks. The irony is overflowing with justice.

This clip of Sufjan leaves much to be desired (in A/V quality and for the rest of the song), but I found it on YouTube from the actual show I saw Sufjan at.

<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rqWzljUS2WI"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rqWzljUS2WI" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object><br />
In video, we see ‘symphony’ all around with the development of new media. YouTube, MySpace, blogs, video iPods, cell phone video—the list goes on.

And the type of people Pink and others believe are the best visionaries?



This is the fourth blog based on A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink (Riverhead Books).