This Sunday, the BranchOut festival came to Nottingham with a sizzling array of musical talent lighting up some of the city’s most popular venues. One of the more unique attractions could be found at Nottingham Contemporary as TEDxNottingham was introduced to a new form of musical and auditory experience courtesy of Blackout.
As the name suggests, Blackout music and performances are the same as many other festivals but with one key difference. The audience are seated on the floor in pitch black. A Blackout experience is one devoid of any light, mobile phones or ability to see anyone or anything. Having been led in by holding the person in front, the audience rely on the voice of the leader (equipped with night vision) to sit on the floor and wait for the performances to begin.
The live music was excellent and the elimination of sight meant a focus on the detail and nuances of sound that are often unappreciated. Midway through the production, Julian Treasure’s TED talk on listening was played, a very apt moment to understand the importance of “making meaning from sound.”
In the last few months there have been several articles published that claim the TED format of ideas conferences is becoming clichéd and passive. With an emphasis on content, the idea of a ‘blackout session’ could be one that TED may consider adopting. Sometimes in the middle of a social media deluge, constant communication and increased impatience, its good to focus on just one thing and truly appreciate it.
Blackout’s simplicity was its genius, reinforcing the old adage that ‘less is sometimes more.’