Sunday, February 23, 2014

Our Visit to TEDxRoma - February 22, 2014

What could be better than sitting back with friends and a crowd of other people thirsting for ideas and inspiration and listening to a series of highly intelligent and often exceptional thinkers? Diana and I, along with other like-minded participants, truly did find it exhilirating to attend the first full-scale, all-day TEDxRoma event yesterday, Saturday the 22nd of February, 2014. If you're unfamiliar with the TEDx format, look here for details on the concept behind these worldwide, locally-organized celebrations of thought!

CCR President, Diana, by the TEDxRoma stage, and myself (inset)

The lunch break -- during which the organizers provided a "Roman lunch" in a box featuring organic, locally-sourced specialties -- and the afternoon coffee break gave us with the opportunity to share our enthusiasm with friends, new acquaintances and even a number of the speakers, who were very happy to interact with the crowd. That included Dave Lingwood, one of the four young Victoria, BC, natives who spoke of their amazing six-year (and ongoing) journey on Penelope, their purple bus. While trying to come to terms with the untimely death of one of their young friends, they started facing the taboo of death and asking themselves what 100 things they wanted to accomplish before dying. Their concept even led to the creation of a documentary and the MTV reality show "The Buried Life," which helped them check a number of items off their list. The wonderful pay-it-forward element, however, is that for each of their own items they checked off during the show, they also worked hard to help another person they had met accomplish a dream of theirs! Here's a video with an interview they gave on a Canadian morning show:

One of the 18-minute presentations that caused the most buzz in the theatre was the live photo performance art of Maurizio Galimberti doing one of his polaroid portraits directly on the previous presenter Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocol that is fundamental to the Internet of today. 

Personally, I loved the presentations on scientific research that will improve our world in stunning ways, such as cleaning up oil spills, reducing paper consumption, giving the visually-impaired independence through remote-guidance wearable touch tech, augmented reality cultural exploration and the direct reading of neural impulses to communicate with people with illnesses that have "locked them into" bodies that appear inert -- as well as the chef talking about the science behind the quantity of salt to use when cooking pasta! 

Finally, we felt support needs to be given to local expat artist Kristin Jones's vision of creating a contemporary public arts programme as a way to give back to the Eternal City. 

Our day concluded with a presentation by the founder of a local, well-loved group of musicians, the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, and a rousing performance by the earliest members of the group along with a number of guest performers from the youth offshoot "Piccola Orchestra di Tor Pignattara" featuring second-generation Italians of varied ethnic backgrounds. Beautiful!