On Serendipity – March 2022

A monthly review curated by the Mass Media and Culture team

There’s that peculiar feeling when everything somehow works out your way. It’s those moments that appear unexpectedly, like a respite of warm sunlight on a day of thunderstorms, that bring color to life. It’s the feeling when you meet your soulmate at a coffee shop because they grabbed your coffee by accident, or when you find a crisp €50 bill on the floor. Happy and fortunate moments are always around us, but it’s when you least expect them that they carry the strongest impact. We are the agents of our lives, and we work hard to keep them smoothly on track. With our goals and aspirations in sight, we charge ever forward and craft a life of purpose. Doing well on an exam or landing the internship of our dreams is rewarding because our hard work paid off, however, the resulting satisfaction lacks the unforeseen excitement of serendipity. I don’t know how this happened, but I’m happy it did. Serendipity gives the feeling of a little show of support from fate and the universe letting us know, “Hey, you’re on the right track”. With that, the MMC team came together to bring you happy little pieces of content you never knew you needed. After this exam session, we hope you can relax and enjoy yourselves with our monthly newsletter as one of many more instances of serendipity to come your way.

Tommaso Calderan, Head of Writers

What to Read

  1. One Day by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls starts off with the protagonists’ one-night stand in Edinburgh. Neither of them wants to commit to the other, however, thanks to a multitude of coincidences, they run into each other again and again over the span of 20 years. This novel explores the trials and tribulations of each of their lives whilst also showing how a mere night they hadn’t expected anything to come out of created wonderful serendipity, bringing Dexter and Emma closer together.

Recommended by Elena Kotseva

  1. To Jane: The Recollection by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“To Jane: The Recollection” by Percy Shelley is the most serendipitous poem you can think about: in the poem, Shelley recalls that sense of wonder and peace he felt during a walk in a pinewood forest, when he and his loved one, immersed in an “inviolable quietness” found a lovely, little pool which appeared like a “firmament of purple light”

Now the last day of many days,
All beautiful and bright as thou,
The loveliest and the last, is dead,
Rise, Memory, and write its praise!
Up,—to thy wonted work! come, trace
The epitaph of glory fled,—
For now the Earth has changed its face,
A frown is on the Heaven’s brow.

We wandered to the Pine Forest
That skirts the Ocean’s foam,
The lightest wind was in its nest,
The tempest in its home.
The whispering waves were half asleep,
The clouds were gone to play,
And on the bosom of the deep
The smile of Heaven lay;
It seemed as if the hour were one
Sent from beyond the skies,
Which scattered from above the sun
A light of Paradise.

We paused amid the pines that stood
The giants of the waste,
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude
As serpents interlaced;
And, soothed by every azure breath,
That under Heaven is blown,
To harmonies and hues beneath,
As tender as its own,
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep,
Like green waves on the sea,
As still as in the silent deep
The ocean woods may be.

How calm it was!—the silence there
By such a chain was bound
That even the busy woodpecker
Made stiller by her sound
The inviolable quietness;
The breath of peace we drew
With its soft motion made not less
The calm that round us grew.
There seemed from the remotest seat
Of the white mountain waste,
To the soft flower beneath our feet,
A magic circle traced,—
A spirit interfused around
A thrilling, silent life,—
To momentary peace it bound
Our mortal nature’s strife;
And still I felt the centre of
The magic circle there
Was one fair form that filled with love
The lifeless atmosphere.

We paused beside the pools that lie
Under the forest bough,—
Each seemed as ’twere a little sky
Gulfed in a world below;
A firmament of purple light
Which in the dark earth lay,
More boundless than the depth of night,
And purer than the day—
In which the lovely forests grew,
As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue
Than any spreading there.
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,
And through the dark green wood
The white sun twinkling like the dawn
Out of a speckled cloud.
Sweet views which in our world above
Can never well be seen,
Were imaged by the water’s love
Of that fair forest green.
And all was interfused beneath
With an Elysian glow,
An atmosphere without a breath,
A softer day below.
Like one beloved the scene had lent
To the dark water’s breast,
Its every leaf and lineament
With more than truth expressed;
Until an envious wind crept by,
Like an unwelcome thought,
Which from the mind’s too faithful eye
Blots one dear image out.
Though thou art ever fair and kind,
The forests ever green,
Less oft is peace in Shelley’s mind,
Than calm in waters, seen.

Recommended by Anna Crepaldi

Where To Get Inspired From

  1. The Starry Night by Van Gogh

Van Gogh – labeled one of the greatest Dutch painters of all time – painted his piece The Starry Night in 1889. Though he was not appreciated during his lifetime, The Starry Night alongside other works of his influenced a myriad of artists, writers, directors, and musicians over time. By a twist of fate, or as we might call it serendipity, he contributed vastly to the modern-day art and culture scene. By the works he has left behind he continues to bring joy and inspiration to so many people.

Recommended by Elena Kotseva

What To Listen

A collection of songs that remind us of happy accidents and that the best things in life are unplanned.

Recommended by Mercedes Lovato and Eve Hadjisotiriou

What To Watch

  1. The Kings of Summer

The Kings of Summer tells the story of three teenage boys who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to ditch their homes to build a house in the woods. During this summer spent away from their annoying and overbearing parents, they discover the true meanings of friendship, love, family, and ultimately what they want to be in life. This movie brings about feelings of serendipity as we see the awkward teenage boys discover who they really are and make lifelong memories together.

  1. The Darjeeling Limited

This Wes Anderson movie is the story of three estranged brothers reunited by their father’s death, who decide to go on a train ride together. On this adventure, they reconnect with one another, emulating serendipity as they learn more about themselves and their spirituality along their unexpected journey.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In a story about the confusing, terrifying, yet glorious experience of being a teenager, The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows a high school freshman, Charlie, who is always watching life from the sidelines. He’s a socially awkward wallflower until two lively and charismatic seniors come into his life and become his mentors and best friends, unexpectedly creating serendipity in his life.

Recommended by Eve Hadjisotiriou

What to See:

Botteghe di Tokyo
  • Botteghe Di Tokyo (Till May 22, 2022): Curated by Laura Micalizzi and inspired by Mateusz Urbanowicz, the exhibition is an immersive experience through the streets of Tokyo. The arrival at the entrance where you’re handed a passport and flight ticket, the picturesque streets and stores, the extras in kimonos, and the restaurant with authentic cuisine that teleports you to Japan is the epitome of a pleasant discovery by pure chance: serendipity.
  • The Way We Are by Armani/Silos (September 24, 2021 – May 15, 2022): The minimalistic exhibition manifesto showcasing Emporio Armani couture across 40 years leaves one inspired by the vision of Giorgio Armani and the ingenuity of fashion and style. This gem is a serendipitous discovery because of the unexpected inclusivity of the themes “Androgynous” and “Ethnicities” which is often overlooked by big fashion houses.
Armani/Silos by Mercedes Lovato

Recommended by Arundhati Sharma

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