Monday, February 21, 2011

Journal 3: TED talks

So, last night I watched a few TED talks:
Stefan Sagmeister shares happy design
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
JJ Abram talks about the mystery box
Christopher McDougall asks the question: Are we born to run?
Steve Job's How to Live before you die
Rob Forbes on the way of seeing
And finally,
Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience and memory

So basically, rather than writing up this journal entry at a reasonable hour, I ended up watching way more TED talks with my boyfriend and falling asleep wondering whether our experience self or our memory self have more influence in how happy we are as human beings. And caused me to wake up in a foul mood because I had gone to bed much later than I had intended.

with that said, probably the best Sunday night ever. So, I'm just going to briefly talk about what stuck out most to me from all these TED talks:

Sagmeister talks about this Korean artist that has posted up hundreds of blank speech bubble stickers on random advertisements, photographs, anything in New York (I believe that was the city), and that there are three audiences that receive happiness from this interactive design. One, the artist herself. Two, the people writing quite hilarious messages in the bubbles. And three, the people reading these speech bubbles.

In art, it's easy to design what happiness looks like, but it's harder to design a happiness response from your audience. You can draw or paint a sunrise, but to create a room with a retractable ceiling for your viewer to experience the subtle colors of a sunrise or sunset is far more desirable.

Sir Robinson is one of the cutest english men ever. Old, yes. But thoughtful. He makes this great statement about how we as humans have tried to mine certain prized educational commodities, like the ability to solve math problems or the ability to perform well in science, rather than honing in on all of the possible education attributes a child is good at, whether that is more in dance, art, or music. He stresses that creativity is just as important as literacy within education and we have tried for too long to stifle creative growth.

JJ Abram has ADD and I had a difficult time distinguishing him from that Seinfield character. But, he talked about why he is so attracted to mystery boxes, or the concept of creating mystery and suspense in film or television, or whatnot. He talks about his grandfather who gave him he first camera a lot, and play some interesting scenes from Mission Impossible Three and Jaws. Not my favorite, but whatever.

McDougall is the shit. I read his book Born to Run this summer and it literally changed my life. Watching him speak made the book become more real for me and it was just as sassy and energetic as I thought he would be. He talks about how this group of indians in the Copper Canyons who chose flight over fight when the Spanish came to the Americas, and how they today are living the same way they have lived the past 400 years. They are peaceful, corn and mice eating, beer drinking, megamarathon running people who do not know poverty, heart disease, depression, warfare--any of the things that plagues our modern society. He talks about three mysteries of the world: How we evolved from a pea brain creature to this fat brained species and how for thousands of years we were hunting without the creation of man made tools, How women suck at sprinting but once you get her into a megamarathon setting (100+ miles), they are just as good as men and usually finish those races more, And another point that I've forgotten just now. Well, that'll be something to look forward to if you watch this TED talk, because it's that good. Anyways, so he is basically advocating for us to return to our roots, that the one thing that ties all these three questions together and explains us as humans is the fact that there was a time when we as a species hunted in a pack. LIke ran fucking antelope down as a communal pack. And that only if we return to a compassionate, team-working, running species will we find more happiness. And that we should all throw away our tennis shoes because they fuck up our feet.

Steve Jobs dropping out of college after 6 months bc he felt so guilty about spending his working class family's life savings on his education at Reed College. But stayed afterwards for 18 months on the floors of his friend's dorm rooms, putting up coke bottles to pay for food, and walking 7 miles every week to a church for a hot meal. All of this just to drop in on classes that he cared about. He took a calligraphy class there and learned about letter press and typography and calligraphy, and fast forward a few years, used what he learned to elevate the typography of the mac, and (because microsoft copies everything) changed the overall aesthetics of the personal computer forever. That's connecting the dots, something that you can only do in retrospect, but gives you comfort in today and tomorrow because just the simple concept that a few years down the road you'll be able to use what you are doing today gives you the comfort and reassurance to take a few risks.

Forbes showed photographs of interesting compositions in nature/life that he's taken over the years. Basically the idea that design is everywhere around us, it's only the process of seeing it.

Loved Kahneman's talk about the experience self and the memory self, and how it related to our happiness. But, since I have some other homework to catch up on, i'll let you watch it yourself. This, and watching Inception and the Matrix within the last two weeks made me think about my memories and thoughts a little differently. Enjoy.

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