Justin Spenner

Original airdate 
Jul 29, 2021

"I Enter as a Stranger" is a multi-discipline production of Franz Schubert’s song cycle Die Winterreise (1828) featuring Minnesota based singer Justin Anthony Spenner (Producer/Baritone) who speaks with Jim Cunningham. WQED's Emmy award winning editor and producer Ash Warren prepared the second section of the production. "I Enter as a Stranger" removes the romantic narrative from Die Winterreise, focusing instead on the poetic themes of mental illness. Music, dance, photography, and film merge to tell the story of four individuals searching for connection and recognition as they navigate their own neurodiversity. Their worlds intersect, and lines of reality blur together as they gain an understanding of each other. “This project comes as a response to a massive increase of people talking about their mental health over the last 15 months. The pandemic has created a time where many have found community in trauma- a topic that our society tends to ignore. This work reflects on the effort it takes to maintain that community and the idea that connection can be attainable through empathy.” -Justin Anthony Spenner, Producer This self-produced work was conceived to normalize conversations about mental health and advocate for individualized treatment. It utilizes film, music, and photography to explore themes of human connection, isolation, internal/external realities, and living with an invisible illness.

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Series: Voice of the Arts