Monday, January 12, 2009

Stop and Hear the Flowers

. . . and smell the music.

For a ticket price of approximately $100.00, one can attend Boston's Symphony Hall to hear world renowned musician-violinist, Joshua Bell, play one of the most intricate classical pieces ever written - Bach - with his handcrafted 1713 Stradivarius violin (worth 3.5 million).
For a price of approximately $100.00, one can transcend the minutus details of daily life and immerse oneself in the beauty and the splendor of the sound of art.
For $100.00, one can STOP to smell the music.
But, apparently, without this price attached, one is blind and deaf and dumb and, well, just too preoccupied and busy to actually see and hear and appreciate Joshua Bell play incognito, on a busy Washington DC metro during rush hour.
He played for 45 minutes. Only about six or seven people stopped to take notice, mostly children. His biggest fan, a six-year-old boy, was quickly whisked away by his mother. Twenty people threw money in a till - a total of $35.00. Only one person recognized him. And when Joshua completed playing the six intricate pieces by Bach . . . the familiar sounds of silence (
except for the noises in their heads) comforted the ears of the passengers. No applause. No recognition. Silence.
This was all part of a social and marketing experiment by Gene Weingarten two years ago today; January 12, 2007, proving that people will designate one of two identical items as being distinctly better than the other simply because it is packaged or presented more attractively.
Weingarten set the event as an ,"experiment in context, perception and priorities - as well as an unblinking assesment of public taste: in a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?"


Erik Donald France said...

Brilliant -- and rather sad.

Pythia3 said...

I agree, Erik :)