Christopher Cobley’s work critically explores mental health and how art can affect change in others. Proposed as “Audile-Narrative Dissonance,” Cobley’s thesis work seeks to accessibly frame challenging subjects by tactfully diminishing the immediacy of their complexity. As Cobley explains, “Tangible change regarding the understanding and treatment of mental health requires a shift in cultural perception, divorced from the highly polarized political landscape. This project intends to target commonalities and shared idiosyncrasies within the human experience—not only between those who endure the extremities of mental illness but also those who scarcely engage with such topics.”
As a composer, Cobley explores the creation of musical works that don’t impose their direct meaning prescriptively onto an audience but rather encourage a sense of “method-listening.” When an audience can feel and draw meaning from the work, Cobley says, “It evokes a canvas on which an individual’s reality can be validated through self-discovery.” Through this approach, art can affect change through authentic connection, discovery, and understanding.