Pure Being: the new Change Makers podcast track from Beatie Wolfe
4 June 2021
“So much of the magic of life is around us but we’re blind to it. Nature is simultaneously imagination itself, inspiring our greatest art, but it’s also the greatest technology of all. We could learn so much from looking at ecosystems and how species have evolved over millions of years.” These are the words of Beatie Wolfe, expanding on her relationship with the natural world as part of her Change Makers interview with Michael Hayman, less than a month after she graced the virtual Main Stage at the Nobel Prize Summit. Before her were former US Vice President Al Gore and Sir David Attenborough.
These speakers, and everyone else tuned in, had the opportunity to see and hear Beatie’s latest work From Green to Red, an environmental protest about the human impact on the planet; using 800,000 years of historic NASA data, Beatie created a visualisation of the CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere and was “beyond honoured” to be invited to speak and perform. The summit, themed One Planet, One Future, asked questions about how humankind’s future on Earth will be achieved and shaped; as Beatie explained in her conversation with Michael, these are topics about which she is passionate: “Music and art and nature are these wonderful instant connectors that make us present, that make us aware and keep us alive inside”.
The name of Beatie’s protest art piece was taken from the title of a song she wrote in 2006 after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, and asks the question: is it too late to turn back? With From Green to Red, Beatie reimagines the music video format (and protest song), taking the audience on a journey through our planet’s timeline. “This piece is about re-presenting data in a way that people can literally see differently, using the power of art and music to make it evocative and relatable, so that people can really get a sense of where we are right now.”
Beatie, recognised by WIRED as someone who is “changing the world” and by the UN as an innovator who is Impossible to Ignore, is someone Michael was delighted to welcome on the podcast. Her career has been a creative daisy chain of ‘firsts’; she released her third album Raw Space as an ‘anti-stream’ from the quietest room on earth (and beamed it into space via the Big Bang horn), created a wearable record jacket and co-founded a ground-breaking project looking into the power of music for people with dementia.
Following this conversation, Beatie has very kindly allowed Change Makers to use her song ‘Pure Being’ (from her third album Raw Space) as the podcast’s soundtrack. Podcast host Michael is “personally thrilled. Beatie’s music speaks to the journey of life, and its questions, which are so consistent with the themes of Change Makers. Everything Beatie is about, as evidenced by her episode, feels like the right influences for the show. She is an incredible musician and for us to have her music gracing the show is just wonderful.”
Speaking about Pure Being, Beatie says:
“The song is about being (pure being) over doing. It’s about finding that different place and space to exist from and the magic that opens up.”
Born in London and now living in LA, Beatie has spent her whole life dreaming up new ways of consuming music that bridge the digital and the physical. Michael noted that there is innovative technology running through all of her work – which Beatie modestly describes as “just having a fondness for bringing together things that enhance each other”, but she warned against technology taking centre stage. “Art has to humanise technology and technology has to be of service to art, or facilitate art. Technology can never lead. Art and nature are core to our humanity – this was something neurologist Oliver Sacks identified. These two things really make us vital – technology is not core to our humanity… ironically perhaps, I use technology to reintroduce a more tangible, old-school, ceremonial experience around music and art in general, in a way that is totally invisible, and not done for the sake of doing it.”
For someone only in her early 30s, Beatie’s approach to time, and her legacy, reflects a wisdom beyond her years. “I’ve always wanted to make music for generations to come, to leave behind a great catalogue. And on the collective side, to open people’s eyes to what music can do.” And, when it comes to the generations before us, Beatie is just as committed, having launched a pioneering study in 2014 that The Times described as ‘profound’. Beatie’s aim was to objectively prove the power of music, in this case music unconnected to memory, for people living with dementia. The results are hugely positive and provide compelling data which can significantly alter the way people care for those living with dementia and how they can engage and connect via the power of music. “If it is music and not simply memory stirring the soul and creating the magic,” Beatie says, “then the field opens up to new and wonderful possibilities for dementia care”.
Her way of life, as she told Michael, is to defy limitations and labels by “opening up a lot of these boxes, and connecting fields that were traditionally siloed”. The future is bright for all who are touched by Beatie’s “weird and wonderful explorations”, resolutely unique to this artist, and curated with care, curiosity and infinite creativity.