Olafur Arnalds And The Power Of Collaborating With Your Fans
Couple of months ago No Film School wrote about Press Pause Play, a documentary that focuses on the digital revolution and its impact on art, and that addresses the question: does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out?
You can buy the documentary via Amazon and iTunes, or download it for free on the movie’s website. It’s a very interesting take on the more than ever current and on-going revolution art is going through and I recommend it to anyone interested in creating anything.
One of the interviewee, the Islandic musician Olafur Arnalds, grabbed my attention with his unique approach to his relationship with his audience:
‘One of my main purpose in doing music is to inspire people in any way possible, and one way of inspiring someone is if they feel like creating art. I thought why should this always be one way? I make music and people listen to it and I got sent a lot of Art back. All the time people send me videos, music videos for the songs, they make a painting or take photos… (…) [I thought] we could also work on this in both directions, why can’t the fans also inspired me? And we can work together and make interesting collaborations, a huge collaboration with a lot of people.’
Arnalds started a project inviting fans to send him their art. Sure enough, he stumbled upon a video made by Argentinian motion graphic artist Esteban Diacono for the song Ljósið and fell in love with it.
Diacono explains that he used two color pallets (helped by [his] talented friend Sol Valladares) to visually separate the piano and the strings; the blue tones representing the melancholic part of the song and the warmer colors representing the hope and the joy.
Arnalds contacted Diacono and the video became the song’s official music video and gained more than a million hits on Youtube.
Arnalds adds ‘In the end that was the most successful video that we had ever done and this video alone can account for a lot of my success in the last year.’
I enjoyed Arnalds’ way of seeing his relationship with his audience as an opportunity for a dialogue leading to a collaborative exchange and more creativity .
Of course, him being a musician makes it easier to develop a stronger connection with ‘fans’ and to react dynamically to them. Nonetheless I believe that dialoguing with your audience and building a sense of community around a project is exactly what fuels creativity and helps a project strives.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo treasure hunt I have been covering here extensively for the last 6 weeks has also been a good indicator of how people are willing to invest time and energy to share and experience emotions with other people. Involving people by offering them to give a bit of themselves, whether it be by producing art or helping a hunter at the other side of the world to find a flower, gives powerful result.
I now realize there’s a lot that can be done to build strong storytelling experience using a community’s power to make it grow. I know this is not an new idea, I recently got on the transmedia-train, but hopefully, no matter how wide your knowledge on the matter is, you will still find inspiration in Arnalds’ story and PressPausePlay.