Sometimes curiosity drives the connections we make. At other times, we rely on an intuitive sense of how things need to be connected. Like, knowing how to jumper a new drive when the instructions are in shreds, or knowing how to get from “L Street” over to “Hamilton”. Sometimes though, it’s not so obvious.
I’ve followed Lia Ditton as she makes her way across oceans. First soloing in the 2005 OSTAR aboard “Shockwave” an ORMA 60′ tri, correcting out to 4th in class among 18 finishers whittled down from 34 who started. This was followed by her 2nd place finish in the 2006 Route de Rhum, aboard an Open-40, “Dangerous When Wet” racing solo from St Malo to Guadeloupe. Most recently, Lia and Detective Inspector Mick Birchall rowed the Atlantic in the Woodvale Challenge, racing 2,900 miles in 73-days. Leaving the Canary Islands, she chronicled her daily experiences and impressions until their finish in Antigua, placing 9th among 30 other competitors.
Now, she’s moved on to another intriguing project, the Open Boat Orchestra. Conducted (grin!) during the Barcelona World Race, streaming real-time performance data to be converted into music. Double-handed, flat-out, and non-stop 25,000 miles around the world, following the clipper route, in under 90-days. Currently, the BWR shows 9 entries, with a diverse list of international teams. (FR, ESP, USA, GBR, AUS, IRE & SUI)
Fitting an Open-60 with FSR load cells streaming 24/7 performance data on racing conditions, heading, speeds, and environmental conditions, Lia’s team will create the first musical interpretation of a circumnavigation. Capturing the rhythms of life and patterns of an ocean from diurnal cycles of the sun and moon, through tides, waves and wind, it’s all so very connected. As Lia describes it, “the boat moving through the water is the synthesizer.” Today, she completed her first photo-shoot aboard what could be her possible charter for the race, rounding the field of entries to ten.
OK, here comes the connection, . . .
I had watched Christen Lien perform at the close of the TED-X OilSpill, amazed at the poised control of an artist performing an expressive and impassioned new work weaving themes, patterns and emotive images as music. All of it solo with the help of effects processing, loops and a classical viola to create a sound “both uncannly ancient and reassuringly contemporary”. Really cool to watch and hear.
So, I did some research and discovered Christen’s ‘Midway. Message From the Gyre‘ with photos by Chris Jordan. A moving journey to a remote island suffering a plastic agony. Christen’s music resonates with the pattern language and flow of forces in our oceans. But, it wasn’t until a month later, after an update on the OBO that I wondered why these two people don’t know each other and why they aren’t collaborating? Duoh! It was so obvious. Someone needed to make the connection.
Now, I’ve been able to blindly connect them across a continent and an ocean. And I’m waiting to hear how they’ll expand our awareness of our oceans along with our appreciation for their creativity and talents. And their courage for going out there, alone. Across oceans or out onto a stage, alone.
I think it was Paul Sappho who said “Innovation happens in the space between two people” Sometimes the connections are obvious. And sometimes we need to shrink those spaces, . . . All benefit.