Creating Community Through Shared Experience

As our global challenges escalate, arguably the world needs community more than ever. Could experience be the key?

WXO Member Kile Ozier explores the world of Experience Design, Direction and Production, with a unique ability to create experiences of intimacy at levels of magnitude and complexity, from dining room to stadium… it always feels personal.

Here he explains why he’s adopting the mantra “creating community through shared experience” as his new mission statement. In the future, it’s up to experience experts like the WXO community to lead the way...

Two chromosomes separate humans from apes. 


Simple science, then, supports the concept that all we humans on the planet are a part of one community. We are one community, irrespective of color of skin, religion, language, creed…

Religion and culture are random offshoots of geography: where each of us happens to be born will be the biggest influence on the persons we become and what we believe and believe we know. Each of us to be evolved and grown by the people and world we each encounter as we grow, though we all begin pretty much the same.

I believe that, from birth, we are a Community unrealized; though Community, nonetheless.

There is enough food on this planet to feed everyone; there is enough water on this planet for everyone to drink, bathe and grow food; there are enough resources on the planet to shelter and support every person living here, and there is more than enough wealth on earth to fully support every citizen of our global community. 

We don’t yet quite act that way; but I believe this is a concept that we can embrace and make reality.

Thousands of us create and invite others to immerse in and enjoy shared experiences. Be that thrill or theatre, museum or monument, fair, festival, fantasia of all kinds: there is a Moment therein when the entire audience is in thrall of a simple and profound experience where such experience becomes personal… intimate. 

When I talk of this phenomenon, I often use the example of Julie Taymor’s “Lion King” costumery. Not fully articulated, each costume evokes the animal it represents, giving each audience member the experience of seeing the creature through their own eyes, their own history and perception of that animal.

The Pakistani woman on my left, the Irishman on my right, me; we all see and in the same instant recognize “Zebra” in that one, exhilarating moment. However, we each “see” something different; depending on our personal experience of “Zebra.” Whether having first seen a Zebra on television, in a zoo, in a natural habitat or as a plush toy; that is the image that first bursts into cognition and, without a shared language or common frame of reference, we share a moment of shared, excited intimacy.

Headline and above image; Community by Agustin Farias; The Lion King musical by Julie Taymors

Storytellers of myriad forms do this all the time. Sometimes it’s a Moment, sometimes an entire show, sometimes it can extend beyond berm and boundary. And what it does is subtly make the point that we are all the same, under the skin. 

It isn’t said, it isn’t thought; it is simply realized. We are the same. We are a community.

The world needs more of this. 

I believe we are running out of time; and I call on the industries in which I work to embrace as un-articulated subtext, as mindful subconsciousness, this fact of universality as we continue our work.

Not that it must be announced as each show or experience opens or closes; simply kept in mind by leaders, teams, leaders of teams and teams of leaders, from the solo flautist to the corps de ballet to the marching band, symphony or street troupe… As we create, can we remain mindful of the fact that just outside our doors are vast swaths of community yet to connect. 

Just as all the experience of each of us tends to inform successive projects; the embracing of this thought and philosophy may then continue to subtly inform the work we continue to do and the impressions we strive to make. We Are Community.

I just think that if, as we do our own creating and building, incite and invite our own gatherings and dynamic engagement of people; if we do these things with the embraced fact of global community in mind, the end results will somehow reflect that reality without anything having to be said. N’est-çe pas?

Photography by Hannah Busing

I believe, as Community, we are each and all responsible for the quality of life on This Planet: for ourselves, for others near and distant; all others; and if as we think and create and build, we simply keep in mind that it’s One World, perhaps we can make things better before it’s too late.

And we don’t have a lot of time. 

Thus, what I am asking as I close this missive is this; maybe add this thought to your daily communications, “Creating Community through Shared Experience;” as it is all shared experience. Show or Festival, Open House, Board Meeting, Cow Branding, School Classroom or Assembly, Pickle Ball or Disc Golf game, anything. It need not be discussed daily or ever, simply present in our minds as we do other things. 

Please join me in keeping mindful as we continue forward. On a website, in a wallet, tossed into a drawer to be found and rediscovered from time to time. It needn’t be “where all can see,” just in our individual lives in some way that can remind us at quiet moments that we all need one another.

The World Needs Us All… and I think time is not completely on our side! 

Oh, and while we’re at it; perhaps adopt a dog.

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