Sofia Ek’s year in Libya is practically what the memoir genre was made for.
While on assignment to create a country report for The Wall Street Journal‘s advertorial Smart Money in 2006, the businesswoman found herself tangled in bureaucratic mind games and a perilous love affair, all at the height of dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s reign. Ek could have written a straightforward memoir about her travels abroad, but The Minefield Girl turned into something far more innovative and abstract: an immersive audiovisual experience that blends narration with animated sequences from 18 different artists.
“Initially I started out writing it as a regular memoir, but I said to myself, ‘There’s too much going on on the market–I need to do something that’s different.’ And not just do it different for my sake, but actually for the listener’s sake,” says Ek (who happens to be married to Spotify founder Daniel Ek). “I felt there needs to be a way to elevate the listening experience without stealing too much from the listener’s time, bring them in but also be able to let them go and use their imagination. And I felt that art would accomplish that.”
Each artist conceptualized a chapter from The Minefield Girl with animated sequences that play as you listen to actress Camilla Belle narrate Ek’s story. And as personal as that story may be, Ek decided to give complete creative control to each artist. The end result is a prismatic burst of assorted animation that adds layers of interpretation.
“Initially when I got some of the art pieces, I was like, this is weird. But then I started listening and looking at it at the same time. You might not see the connection between the story and the art piece, but as the chapter unfolds, you will start to familiarize yourself with it and at the end of it, you might look at it with completely different eyes, which is amazing,” Ek says. “There’s never one meaning to what has happened–and that’s the beauty of it.”
Experience The Minefield Girl on Spotify.