Case Study

Storytelling for a festival of art and ideas, on the subject of a mythology, the science of perception, the history of mirrors, and the metaphysics of self-image

Client:
Onassis Cultural Center NY

Background

The Onassis Cultural Center NY (OCCNY) partners with prominent cultural institutions in NYC such as BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), St. Ann's Warehouse, the Public Theater, the New York Public Library, and  Pioneer Works, among others, with a mission to realize 2 major initiatives: (1) cultural programming for the general public; and (2) educational programming for scholars and students in partnership with educational institutions via the Onassis Humanities Impact Program. Its parent foundation (The Onassis Foundation) is dedicated to the celebration of Greek culture.

In October 2015, "Narcissus Now," a four-day festival, inaugurated the renovated Onassis Cultural Center NY, with a kaleidoscopic portrait of the Narcissus myth through choreography, music, performance, fashion, culinary arts, film, architecture, visual arts, and literature. The festival also examined the contemporary imprint of Narcissus on technology, psychology, philosophy, and science. 

By Mnemosyne's founder, Danelle M. Brown, was commissioned by festival curator, Violaine Huisman, and co-curator of the Festival Family Day, Tamar MacKay, to create a drop-in learning and storytelling experience around the topic of a "True Mirror"and the mythology of Narcissus, plus facilitate the experience.

Many people are not aware that the reflections of ourselves, that we see in a typical mirror, are merely a reversed imaged of our actual body. A “True Mirror” provides an accurate view of how one looks to others.

 

A "True Mirror," a table, and two pedestals were provided. In addition to developing the storytelling experience, By “M” created the displays pieces and learning tools for the experience as well. To prepare for the drop-in storytelling format, research was conducted from various lens, to aid in factually accurate and responsive storytelling for a public audience of various ages and familiarity with the various subjects of topic. 

 

In addition to learning about mythology and a history and science of mirrors, participants were granted the opportunity to see themselves (for the first time), the way others do, and explore narratives of perception and the metaphysics of self-image. The drop-in learning experience was conducted over the course of two days at the festival. The second day was designated the festival's family day.

The range of the UX varied per participant. Many people are shocked to see how they actually appear to others. Some are elated, humored, saddened…the range of emotions was grand, and to an element of the storytelling experience.

Scope of services

  • Graphic and Display Design 

  • Historical, Mythological, and Scientific Research

  • Storytelling Facilitation for Festival Attendees (General Public)

  • Oral History

Results

  • The True Mirror station was one of the most highly-visited drop-in storytelling booths at the festival.

Coverage

Same person, viewed from a different Lens

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