A recap of the week’s events
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
From March 17-21, Vancouver had the honour of hosting this year’s batch of TED Talks. Roughly 130 speakers presented on topics from technology and health to nature and design. Amongst the list of speakers were the likes of Edward Snowden, Sting, Bill and Melinda Gates, Charlie Rose, Amanda Palmer, Chris Hadfield, Philip Zimbardo, and Jane McGonigal.
Although tickets for the mere 1,200 seats were priced at $7,500 each, various wings of the Vancouver Convention Centre hosted live screenings for free to registered persons. Many locations throughout the lower mainland were also able to stream the talks such as various post-secondary schools (including Douglas College’s New West campus) and public libraries.
The theme of this year’s TED Talks was to explore where the past 30 years have brought us, as 2014 is TED’s 30th anniversary. The move out from California to Vancouver was a way to celebrate both the great changes that have happened in the world over time, and the changes that have happened more locally. These past three decades have seen Vancouver grow into a renowned metropolis.
Vancouver further benefits from TED’s presence, as the Globe and Mail has confirmed TED Talks will remain here for the 2015 year as well. Whether this means Vancouver will be a home of sorts for TED Talks is uncertain.
To signify the major changes that brought TED to Vancouver, an enormous art project was placed above the Convention Centre’s outdoor area. According to the Huffington Post, the 745-foot sculpture, entitled “Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks,” hanging in the air was weaved by artist Janet Echelman. In addition, Google Creative Lab digital artist Aaron Koblin helped in making the sky bridge an interactive, digitally ephemeral art project. When lit up at night, people could use an app that would let them briefly draw animations onto the sculpture.
Echelman, a weaver of dream catchers and other art projects, created the net-like piece out of extremely strong fibres. Echelman said in an interview:
“It’s a metaphor for a way of being in the world in that you need to be able to go in, share what you want to share, and leave without a trace.”
She also revealed that after a full week, “Skies Painted” would be taken to other major cities. This could be a tour in a way for the artist and her unique work of art. Ideally the piece will return home to Vancouver once traveling is done.
TED Talks have had a powerful, positive effect in Vancouver. TED curator Chris Anderson stated to the Globe and Mail that he intended on TED Talks remaining in Vancouver past 2015: “Based on the feedback, I would predict that we’re going to be here for quite a few years. I hope so.”