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  • Writer's pictureKevin Cordi

Living Statues as Storytellers...part 1

My wife and I are celebrating 10 years of our formal connection, 10 years of marriage by spending quality time in Barcelona, Spain. Even traveling, most people know me as someone who tries to avoid traveling as a tourist but instead as a storyteller. This is achieved by taking time to see where stories unfold, talking with people who might hide a story (this can be many) and simply waiting and searching for story as what I call being a "story-grapher." One who searches for stories for the purpose of sharing them out loud.

In Barcelona, one does not have to travel far to find a story and today I found a unique type of storyteller-the living statues at Las Ramblas. After seeing the wares and the traditional hawking, there is a different type of busking going on. I had only seen "living statues" from afar on the streets of Chicago and New York, but one must stop and experience living narratives unfold in Barcelona.

I first heard about the art from reading Amanda Palmer's book

"The art of asking." A powerful account not only of her work as a living statue, she performs as an incredibly tall living woman in a wedding gown statue. She speaks to how she started with this type of enticement to crowd sourcing and making the most money of any single performer using crowd sourcing. Plus, she shares wonders of what happens when you convince you have the right to ask to be an artist and should ask to contribute to your work. More on this, at the link:

You can buy this book at this link.

However, I was not prepared for the stories that unfolded fro these living tapestries. This is indeed an art. As a storyteller, I wanted for the narrative the buskers used in creating what I thought would be a still narrative. However, as coins are exchanged, the audience becomes not only involved, but the people who donate break into the stories. Here are some riveting work from the living statue storyteller who illustrates vividly the story of Gallieo.

Notice the rich narrative that is not only suggested by the work, but in the work. As I teach the art of storytelling, I believe silence is something we need to know before sound. If we can work the pauses of words, we can find movement in story. There living statues are proof of this. Notice the silent narrative they communicate, however the story comes from the many questions you have from the stillness. Is that real? How did he create this? What more is there? Is there more? How do we make him move? What is the unfolding narrative that is connected to this one? It is a connected and interpretive art. Notice, once he sets the stillness, he adds the sound and even breaks the line between stillness and movement by adding the person who contributed to his art by offering Euros.

Each person enters the story in a new way.

In part two, find out what happens when I enter the story.

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