Met up with some lovely ladies at the TEDxSydney last Saturday including the ever vivacious Rachel Vincent and Anna Donohoe who joined us with her ‘Y’ foam cube for a yummy lunch. The second annual talk-fest is a free platform for “ideas worth spreading”, like Corporate Anthropologist Genevieve Bell’s. She was promulgating that wise old zen-like philosophy of unplugging oneself from the various distracting electronic devises and learning to live a little in the real world .
Bird Behavourist Josh Cook then took to the stage to explain how raising pigeons had helped him deal with life as a youngster and how he is now giving back to his feathered friends by teaching caged specimens to experience their birth right of flight. After assessing the wind direction, the habits of predatory birds etc., Josh releases a menagerie of colourful parrots from their aviary so that they can feel freedom under their wings. At night, the free-flying flock which comprises 30 macaws, 8 red-tailed Black Cockatoos, 15 Eclectus Parrots and several other species, comes home to roost. One of the highlights of the day was a visit to the auditorium by Mango, his own gorgeous blue and yellow Macaw, who flew above the heads of attendees and onto Josh’s outstretched arm. It was a brief taste of the wild that Genevieve had been advocating we try instead of being glued to our multiple screens.
Inventor Saul Griffith gave us his excellent vision for an awesome future; one where aircraft doing constant loop-the-loops harnessed enough wind energy to power several homes. It was a much needed injection of solutions into a cluster of problems, like Geneticist Richard Cotton’s presentation (the driest of the day) about the Human Variome Project which seems to be aimed at creating the perfect soldier.
Music featured prominently throughout the sessions, kicking off with Tjupurru demonstrating the amazing Didjeribone (a cross between a didj and a trombone). The percussion ensemble Synergy performed their dreamy improvisations, once as a duet then accompanied by FourPlay, the string quartet. Then all the musicians came together with composer Michael Yezerski to play live accompaniment to the adorable 2011 Oscar winning short animation ‘The Lost Thing’ by Shaun Tan.
Former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns and director Josh Wakely demonstrated the creative process behind their collaboration on the “popsicle” musical feature film ‘My Mind’s Own Melody’, which is due to commence filming in five weeks time. It’s about a steel worker in a colourless world who enters through portal into a psychedelic realm of wonder where he finds a mate and produces an offspring. It sounds like it could have shades of Julie Taymor’s ‘Across the Universe’ and if it’s halfway as good it’ll be worth watching. And if John’s ethereal singing gets a look in, it’ll soar.
Strangely enough, for a forum focused on ground-breaking ideas, I come away from the event encouraged to do as Timothy Leary suggested in the 60s; ‘turn on, tune in, drop out.’ Over and out.