Personal, political, fight against oppression
From his one-bedroom in Denver, Colorado, Mark Anderson (IBA ’14), created a creative and imaginative podcast for his senior study. The podcast, called The Smallest Bone, presents an array of stories through short films.
As an introduction and explanation to his work, Mark writes: “The smallest bone in the body is located in the middle ear. It plays an integral part in the human process of hearing by conducting sound waves to the inner ear. It is a point of transformation, bringing what’s outside, inside. Likewise, this podcast is a point of conduction: the conduction of stories – moments filled with transitions and interruptions: awake and asleep; life and death, fear and peace, physical and abstract, real and surreal. Each episode is filled with mystery and complexities, exhibiting the equivocating and wondrous moments of life.”
In addition to sharing his unique and inspiring interpretations of a depth and breadth of experiences in the world translated into story, in part, perhaps, in the same way the smallest bone transmits sound into meaning, Mark also offers a look into his own family history.
He eloquently shares: “My parents always had an appreciation for our wildness. Sometimes I wonder how they survived raising five kids. My siblings – Ben, Jon, Sarah, Susan – and I were shaped by a household always teetering between chaos and wonder. Most times our play was spirited and mischievous, but our parents enjoyed observing our imagination at work finding ways to let us express our creativity in safety and consideration of others.”
Beautiful and moving insights are communicated through interviews that reveal his family’s “horror” babysitting stories:
Other stories include testimonial of a violent crash and drug-induced coma, puppy rescues, and skiing.
In one of his podcast stories that reveals the near-death experience of a friend, Mark shares that his friend’s memories from a coma state “confirms this idea or belief in me that there is this spiritual plane that we all connect to and go to from time to time, either when we are dreaming, or maybe when we are meditating or even when we die…it is really comforting for me in my daily life to know that there is this peaceful calm nothingness that holds us and we can always get back to.”
The beauty and mystery of Mark’s work is captured in stories and images that propel the witness through a meaning-making experience that promises connections. It shares stories filled with “transitions and transformations; complex and unexpected happenings in our lives. I want to exhibit the wonders of the world and the mysteries,” says Mark in his final product.
These kinds of stories certainly pave the way for the kind of humanity that increases our sense of self, other, and world in ways that support curiosity, faith, and desire to reach for relationship to people, ideas, and ideals.
Note: an abridgment of this story appears in the article, “Is Activism Dead?” in the Clockworks Fall/Winter 2015 issue on page 8.