Goosebump-appearing performances, the connection between maths and sex and making a clarinet from a carrot were just some of the highlights of TedxSydney on Saturday.
The Australian event for spreading ideas was held in the Sydney Opera House, with four sessions breaking up the day, ‘Passages’, ‘Blood’, ‘Enhance’ and ‘Rethink’.
A new app designed specifically for TedxSydney by Vivant allowed people to ‘tag’ their favourite moments and although the data is currently being processed, managing director of Vivant Media, Euan Wilcox, already highlights the high engagement factor of the app.
“The most tagged moments of the day were the performance by Linsey Pollak and Stella Young’s talk on disability, and there was also a peak in tagging at around 230pm when Oliver Percovich was on stage,” he said.
“We had great engagement on the TEDxSydney companion app throughout the day, both from people at home as well as those at the Opera House on the day.”
First speaker in the ‘Passages’ section was author of bestselling novel, The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, divulging his ideas behind success and failure.
Furthering his conversation around failure, Zusak took to the Tedx Studio later on to talk to the intimate audience.
Other speakers within the ‘Passages’ section were Adam Alter on the psychology behind our personalities, comedian Stella Young about the lie we’ve been fed on how we view disabilities, and Barat Ali Batoor on his harrowing journey as an asylum seeker.
After the morning tea break ‘Blood’ was introduced with Cyndi Shannon Weickert and the tale of her brother and her schizophrenia research bringing a tear to many in the room.
Former soldier David Kilkullen also spoke about the role of technology in developing countries, Mary Jerram, ex NSW State Coroner, discussed the difference between vengeance and justice and Tim Sharp and his mother Judy received a standing ovation outlining their earlier struggles with Tim’s autism and the success of Tim’s cartoon character, Laser Beak Man and his love of drawing.
Speaking at The Studio later on, Judy remarked how the moment she saw the standing ovation was one of the best moments of her life behind the birth of her two sons.
Oliver Percovich opened up the ‘Enhance’ section with a demonstration of ‘Skatistan’, the use of skateboards in Afghanistan, to help bring the community together and get kids back to education.
Polish-born neuroethicist, Nicole Vincent, shared her concerns on how cognitive enhancement pills could become the new norm and Punchbowl High School’s principal Jihad Dib talked about the journey to take the school from its less-than-desired reputation to where it is today.
Closing up the ‘Enhance’ section was 17 year old Jake Coppinger who demonstrated his technology that could see us only having to move our hand slightly to turn on lights or control computers.
Lighting architect Mark Major showed us how darkness isn’t always bad in the ‘Rethink’ section, followed by Professor Richard Banati’s look at plastic.
Clio Cresswell made the obscure connection between maths, sex and a health marriage and Barry Traill challenged our attitudes to wilderness and role of humans in preserving biodiversity.
A number of performances and acts were scattered throughout the day such as the opening chilling performance by Black Arm Band, Linsey Pollark’s carrot clarinet and a comedic discussion about our ignorance of theatre.
Thirteen TVBs (Tasty Video Bits) also broke up the sessions showing the perils of txting while walking and the ‘who cares less’ date taken to the extreme.
Partners for Tedx Sydney were its principal partner, The University of Sydney, the foundation media partner, the ABC, as well as its major partners; Post-it brand, oOh! Media, Sydney Opera House, Vivant Media and Woolworths Limited.
Image credit above: Chris Karstens: The TedxSydney core team.