You might be wondering what is the difference between TED and TEDActive. I wondered that, too. The main TED stage is in Vancouver, BC and TEDActive is a live-stream location in Whistler, BC. A lot happens at both locations and people were still trying to figure out what makes each place different. In his recap of TED 2015, Comedian Baratunde Thurston poked fun at the TED attendees:
and the TEDActive attendees:
I can’t find the picture he used in the closing roast, but you get the idea. I’m sure there was a bit of everything at each site!
But, why was I there? In January, I was invited to be the 2015 Artist in Residence for TEDActive from March 12th – 20th. It was a very short time frame to create an interactive art installation. I usually have the luxury of 6-9 months to conceptualize, create and install one of these pieces. But, I was up for the challenge. I saw this as a continuation of my work: exploring the self and searching for truth. As a result, I created The Act of Stillness.
Each of us has experienced those still moments of reflection and felt when ideas flowed into our minds. Those moments are often fleeting in our busy lives and easy to forget how they even happened. Ironically, stillness often leads to some of our greatest creative movement. The Act of Stillness is a metaphor for the proactive pursuit of the creative process. I intentionally set this low-tech piece in a busy, connected conference to see what would happen.
During those couple months of intense focus, I was also asked to ship Untangled up to Whistler for the TEDActive stage. You may remember Untangled in my own TEDx talk back in 2013 and at the Portland International Airport.
I now know how to import/export large works of art and it was surreal to see my art show up on the NBC Nightly News, Wired Magazine and other media outlets as lead-in shots to stories about the TED speakers (there were over 90 that week!).
In addition, last fall, the Artist in Residence Program I created for TEDxMtHood was picked up as a TED Incubator Project. I was also at TEDActive to present the program to other TEDx organizers who want implement their own artist in residence programs. This is me (l) and Michelle Jones (r), the TEDxMtHood curator, who has supported me every step of this journey along with her amazing TEDxMtHood team who traveled with us to Canada.
I see the benefits to this type of program far reaching. For example: The artists get to stretch, create a large-scale stage installation and give a TEDx talk to new audiences. The organizers get to strengthen local ties and demonstrate their commitment to community. The attendees get a visual treat that cues them that they’re in for a very special experience on the day of the event.
Attending TEDActive was incredible. Attending TEDActive as the Artist in Residence, sharing two pieces of my work with a large audience and encouraging others to create Artist in Residence programs around the world was spectacular!
The first evening I was in Whistler, we ate at a crazy, good restaurant and this was my fortune. It will be fun to see where this all leads next! I’ve already got new ideas planted…