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Monday, July 16, 2012

Dementia, Creativity, and the Unraveling of Bolero

Here's an interesting podcast ("Unraveling Bolero") from the Radiolab folks at WNYC Radio. It is the story about two individuals separated by time and distance who both experienced a burst of creativity that was caused by a rare and deadly disease:
Anne Adams was a brilliant biologist. But when her son Alex was in a bad car accident, she decided to stay home to help him recover. And then, rather suddenly, she decided to quit science altogether and become a full-time artist. After that, her husband Robert Adams tells us, she just painted and painted and painted. First houses and buildings, then a series of paintings involving strawberries, and then ... "Bolero." 
At some point, Anne became obsessed with Maurice Ravel's famous composition and decided to put an elaborate visual rendition of the song to canvas. She called it "Unraveling Bolero" (pictured above). But at the time, she had no idea that both she and Ravel would themselves unravel shortly after their experiences with this odd piece of music.
This 20-minute podcast is absolutely fascinating and can be downloaded from iTunes or listened to at the Radiolab website ("Unraveling Bolero").

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