You know ALONE as an ongoing and fully-immersive set of experiences in the Los Angeles area. Presented in various forms, including scavenger hunts, walking tours, meditations and presentations, ALONE has built a reputation of unpredictability.  Last Thursday they released their current exploration, THE TRANSPOSITION MODEL OF A BARED BLOSSOM, which opened ALONE up to anyone, anywhere in the world – so long as they have access to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or Soundcloud, and a set of headphones.

It took a lot of my willpower to resist opening up the audio and diving straight in, but I wanted to make sure to follow the directions (‘fundamentals’ below) for the optimum experience. Don’t cheat yourself on this!

The only explanation given:
a one-hour, auto-audio-guide / to be consumed anywhere in the world / in a public place / alone / with headphones

1. Wash your exposed skin in warm water
2. Go to a communal and populated location
3. Sit somewhere comfortable and settle
4. Place your headphones on
5. When arranged properly, press play

I set myself up in the nearby coin laundromat to get started. Once I pressed play, the only guidance came from the warped, but oddly comforting, voice playing in my headphones. The recording begins by requesting you listen to the sound of their voice and suppress your internal dialogue, letting the narration act as your brain. This was all within the first 2-3 minutes! The constant, throbbing white noise helped to drown out the chatter around me, and surprisingly kept my inner dialogue at bay for nearly the whole hour.

The audio will ask you to perform a few actions, and I would recommend following along as you are told (otherwise why are you bothering to listen?). Every step is clearly designed to take you on a rollercoaster of self-reflection and awareness of shared humanity. I felt creeped out, nervous, comforted, curious, and surprisingly satisfied once it was completed. Then after that, I really was puzzled and impressed with how deeply this pre-recorded audio from people I’d never met was able to speak to me. For anyone that plans on listening for themselves, I would suggest trying it in a shopping mall or bustling business district. Aside from that, my best advice is to listen well, follow directions and strap in for a weird and wild ride!

In the end, how this audio journey is experienced will really be up to the listener. You will get out of it what you put in. And although the recording is the same, each person who participates will likely end up with a totally different encounter. Staying true to its reputation, THE TRANSPOSITION MODEL OF A BARED BLOSSOM proves you just never really know what to expect with ALONE.


Sara Kinne
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