Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

25 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 4


Solid sand, the art of curation, why doing nothing matters, and how to get 700 of the world’s smartest people singing.

The final day of TEDGlobal in images and soundbites — the closing of a truly phenomenal experience.

For full blow-by-blow coverage, skim our live Twitter feed from the event.

Bjarke Ingels at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who has the highest ration of architecture awards to age in the world, showcases some of his stride-stopping work.

Magnus Larsson at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Magnus Larsson proposes a visionary project to stop desertification -- using bacteria to solidify sand dunes into stone and build a 6000km-long desert-break stretching across Africa.

The Sahara desert expands by nearly one meter per day, literally driving people out of their homes. ~ Magnus Larsson

Dan Pink at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Dan Pink says extrinsic incentives, a.k.a. 'carrots and sticks,' dull creativity. The key to economic success is in intrinsic motivations -- autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Science confirms what we know in our hearts. ~ Dan Pink

Itay Talgam at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Maestro Itay Talgam on the intricate role of the conductor in creating not only the process of performance, but also the conditions in which this process occurs.

Interpretation is the real story of the performance. ~ Itay Talgam

Daniel Birnbaum on the art of curating -- something we can really relate to here -- as an unseen force that shapes the art experience beyond the individual objects.

It’s the gallery itself, the institution, that becomes the frame. ~ Daniel Birnbaum

Brother Paulus Terwitte at TEDGlobal

German friar Brother Paulus Terwitte contests we've become primitive hunters and gatherers, preoccupied with collecting information, instead of taking in less and deepening our life. He advocates the 'organized doing of nothing' -- meditation, prayer, contemplation -- as a way to find 'the inner voices of things.'

The most important question is, ‘Where are you in your thoughts?’ ~ Brother Paulus Terwitte

Chris Anderson at TEDGlobal, forewarning about the infamous TED crash.

Chris Anderson forewarns about the dreaded TED crash following the end of the 4-day idea binge, when sleep deprivation kicks in and dopamine plummets. We can already feel it.

Tom Rielly's satire at TEDGlobal

The wonderful Tom Reilly's (in)famous satire of the conference. Here, impersonating TED Europe's charmingly stern director, Bruno Giussani.

Parodying the Lifesaver filtration bottle, Tom mock(?)-relieves in a glass, runs it through the Lifesaver bottle, and hands it to Chris to drink. Upon chugging it, Chris proclaims: 'Trust.'

Imogen Heap's surprise performance wrapping up TEDGlobal

The phenomenal Imogen Heap takes the stage for one last surprise performance after the fantastic audience response to her scheduled act. She plays the hang, a mysterious gong-like instrument, and asks us to be her live looping device, dividing the audience into a 3-part chorus. The collective experience is utterly magnetic, and you can just see the music running through her entire body as she performs. Magic, personified.

On a personal note, the TED experience has been every bit as invigorating, inspiring and incredible as expected, and then some. Exhausting as it may have been, reporting is has been a modest effort to help extend TED’s fundamental mission — “ideas worth spreading.”

And before we return to our regular “programming” next week, a big “THANK YOU” for following and sharing in this utterly lifechanging experience.

22 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 2


Optical illusions, aquatic apes, and the sweat of genius.

The second day of TEDGlobal offered an endless flurry of brilliance, and we have the photos to prove it.

Stefana Broadbent on how modern technology affects connections and the overlapping relationship between the public and the private spheres. The peak for private email is actually 11AM in all countries.

Designer Aza Raskin on the importance of seamless, user-centric interface, stressing that your train of thought is sacred and you should never disturb it.

The amazingly innovative and talented Imogen Heap.

...and more

One of the incredible, techie instruments Imogen Heap plays.

Imogen Heap playing 5 instruments while singing. Phenomenal.

Biomimicry expert Janine Benyus shows some incredible applications of principles from nature to the design and engineering of technology.

French designer Matthieu Lehanneur on the theme of invisible design, as if an object's function exists implicitly and invisibly around it.

Matthieu Lehanneur showcases his living air filtration system, Andrea.

Interaction designer Beau Lotto demonstrates some incredible -- literally, as in hard to believe -- optical illusions.

Beau Lotto plays with the relationship between colors and lighting conditions to trick perception.

Henry Markram talks about the brain and the beauty of its diversity.

Chris Anderson asks follow-up questions after David Deutsch's tremendously fascinating, so-smart-most-of-it-is-probably-over-our-head talk about the nature of scientific explanation.

Public space designer Candy Chang shows some of her playful, engaging work.

90-year-old scientist Elaine Morgan, the oldest speaker to have spoken at TED, is tremendously charming and animated as she talks about the controversial Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

Breakthrough Swiss act Sophie Hunger.

The devastatingly talented Eric Lewis, whose piano play is the work of pure, raw, mad genius.

Eric Lewis, in the zone.

...and some more.

The sweat of genius, glistening on the floor below Lewis' piano -- the performance was a magnificent force to watch.

For a full blow-by-blow verbal recap, be sure to skim our live Twitter feed — and stay tuned for more coverage tomorrow.

23 JUNE, 2009

New Music Spotlight: Regina Spektor “Far”


What Seinfeld has to do with the best new album by the best old favorite.

We’ve been enamored with semi-indie darling Regina Spektor for years. (Seeing her live at TED 2009 didn’t hurt, either.) And part of her fascination lies in the ability to reinvent herself beautifully, without losing the core of her brilliance — charmed vocals, superb piano and incredible lyrical sensibility. That’s exactly what’s happening in her new album, Far, out today.

The entire album is an absolute gem, but our favorite track has to be The Calculation — delightfully upbeat and somehow Seinfeld-like in its ability to be about nothing particularly grand while capturing the great human truths.

And in case you sit there wondering how an album could possibly be this ridiculously good, it may have something to do with the fact that Jeff Lynne — named the fourth greatest producer in music history — is behind it. Well, that and Regina Spektor’s indisputable genius.

Another highlight comes from Laughing With, a piece of open-to-interpretation commentary on the hypocrisies of our belief systems.

Snag Far today and ponder existential truth to the best soundtrack there is.