daily dose of pure: TEDxVOLCANO and Reflecting the Stars

05/05/2010

TEDxVOLCANO: Nathaniel Whittmore in action!

(from Nathaniel’s newsletter in his words)

Midway through the Skoll Forum, I had ducked out to get a little back-home work done. When I came back, within about 10 minutes a half-dozen people had asked me if I heard about the Volcano that was shutting down flights in the UK. “No, of course I haven’t heard about that. Are you insane?” was more or less what I thought as people related the news. Two days later, as I sat on the phone with Virgin Atlantic, I realized that the only thing that was insane was the fact that I wouldn’t be leaving the country for at least another week.

It was the first time that many of those stranded – which included everyone coming off of the Skoll Forum – had found themselves so totally without mobility and agency. No credit line could solve the problem. While many drew serenity and wisdom from this modern anomaly, I’m obviously way too much of a brash control freak to be zen about it. So instead of dealing with reality, I started to plan a conference.

With the help of TED, the Sandbox Network, and some very excellently flexible speakers, we put together TEDxVolcano in just over 30 hours. The Hub coworking space at Kings Cross played host and we jammed 150 people into their facility (and another 600 on the live video stream) to see Jeff Skoll read a limerick he had composed about the Volcano, Economist bureau chief Matthew Bishop compared the volcano’s spewing of toxic ash to Goldman Sachs, and others like former Google.org head Larry Brilliant, the CEO of Participant Productions, the head of documentaries for Sundance, and CBS’ chief travel correspondent all spoke as well.

It was a unique event inspired by an irreplicable moment. But it was also testament to the power of building networks and then being okay asking them for the stuff you need. Turns out, people like to help with big crazy ideas. You can watch the whole thing on Ustream here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tedxvolcano

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For those of you in NYC or passionate about public art, please check out my buddy Jon Morris’ environment/arts project he’s bringing to NYC this summer.  Please take a look and forward on to everyone you think may be interested.  Over 2.5 million people will see it first hand, plus loads of press–a great PR opportunity for cheap for anyone who wants ‘clean’ press.

Also, they’re having a Star Sale Launch Party next Friday, May 7th 8:01pm – 3:21am at The Windmill Factory (155 North 3rd Street #15, Brooklyn, NY 11211). They’re presenting the project at 10pm. Live music by Paul Weinfield of Tam Lin & Jack Dishel of Only Son, Cirque du Soleil Clowns, Astronomy lessons, Astrology Readings, Starry Beats by DJ Tarquin and Brazillians in tights!  Invite whoever.

Sponsorship Opportunities available for Reflecting the Stars
An Innovative Clean-Tech Public Light Installation
July 1st – October 1st 2010
Pier 49, New York, New York
A Clean-Tech Interactive Light Installation raising awareness and teaching prevention techniques for light pollution. Hundreds of Solar powered LED clusters implanted on hundreds of decaying pier posts illuminate at sunset, twinkling in various patterns, mirroring a lost starry sky. Help bring back the night sky, http://www. thewindmillfactory.com/ reflecting_the_stars.html

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