During Mid-December of 2015, Marc attended a recital at the Park Avenue Armory orchestrated by Marina Ambromivic and performed by pianist Igor Levit. Goldberg, named after Bach’s signature variations, marked Marina’s first foray into classical music as a performance artist.
“They want to listen to Bach, so they have to suffer” Marina Ambromivic had said with a laugh. And so Marc did. As a condition to entry, they had relinquished him of his iPhone and sat him down in a half-circle around the runway stage. Marina had built a career out of pushing the limits of the human body. For her, art demanded sacrifice.
When John Cage had performed 4:33 he had subjected his audience to a total of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. Then, it was a meditation into the inherent impossibility of silence, for in the silence of the performer, the audience becomes the subject. Here, however, silence served a different purpose entirely. Arbromic, cruel mistress that she was, had her audience don a pair of noise-canceling headphones and then let the silence linger on for twenty to thirty minutes. This exercise in sensory deprivation was a ritual to invoke focus. Marina needed to revirginize her audience’s besotted ears as a prerequisite to appreciating the infinitude of Bach’s variations. After the torturous ordeal, pianist Igor Levit drifted down the runway stage with the first notes of Bach’s variations.
The Goldberg Variations was considered one of the defining pieces of Bach’s variation form. The infinity that Levit and Ambromivc sought to draw out from the performance was the product of musical self-reference and recursion, what Daniel Hofstadter calls in Godel, Escher Bach the eternal golden braid. The piece itself was around 80 minutes long but consisted of countless variations on a single aria. It was a musical progression with each repetition differing from its predecessor in altered form. Bach built for a listener a musical staircase. His genius was that he made it seem as if (like an Escher painting) he could go on forever without running out permutations.
It was perhaps this sense of divinity that Marnia sought to draw out from Bach’s work with her signature Ambromavic method. The complexity of Bach came alive for her audience who had their focus channeled to appreciate it. She had markedly left an impression on Marc, our company co-founder, and president, who came out the exhibit looking for ways to deconstruct her method for use in office design. Modern life was glutted with an abundance of distractions, but Marina though clever use of stage placement, lighting, and presentation was able to tear a group of patrons away from preoccupation to experience something special. Inspiring!
(PART 1 IN A SERIES OF 5)
At Wobi Office We are passionate about good design and believe that it makes the world a better place. Architecture, automobiles, touch-screen tablets – good design is beautiful to look at and easy to use. We find inspiration for our line of quality office chairs from a wide variety of sources. We’ve compiled the following series of blog post to muse about our thoughts and inspiration. We hope you enjoy and look forward to your feedback