The New York Times had an article on a man,Christopher DeLaurenti, who recorded the intermissions of classical music concerts. He’s going to release a CD of them and defends them as interesting collections of sound. To him they are a kind of avant-garde music.
There’s an interesting quote from him when he explains how he sneaked into concerts with recording equipment and escaped detection:
He honed a technique of often shifting his posture and moving around. “Most people are not observant and rarely look at one thing for longer than 10 seconds,” he said.
I know that isn’t a scientific observation, but it strikes me as about right. Most people don’t look or think about any one thing for more than about 10 seconds. In our modern age, bouncing from page to page on the internet, 10 seconds feels like an eternity.
Her is my challenge to you. Every single day find something that you have never paid attention to before and give it a full minute of your time. There’s a lot you can do during that time. Make a list of distinguishing characteristics. Sketch it. Try and figure out the story behind it. Try and imagine what the design team was thinking when they designed it, if it’s human made, or what purpose it serves, if it’s natural.
Don’t let your attention shift to something else until a whole minute has passed. Break that 10 second barrier and give more attention to the world around you. You can unearth amazing things and notice incredible dramas unfolding all around you.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll notice a guy with a chest full of recording equipment taping an intermission. Don’t stop him though, he’s making music.