Sunday, October 9, 2011

TEDxDiliman: How Art and Culture Can Change Our World

TEDxDiliman is a TEDx event held at UP Diliman yesterday, October 8. TED has been one of the major influences why I blog. The first TED video I ever watched was that of Pranav Mistry's SixthSense which led me to post this article titled "SixthSense: Your Digital Life Anytime, Anywhere!" Its tagline, Ideas Worth Spreading, has inspired me to share substantial knowledge I've gained which is what I'm doing on this blog. 

Special thanks to John Arce of WebGeek Philippines for the information about this event, have I not read his post I wouldn't know about it. The event was limited to 100 guests as per the licensing agreement with TED. I've read some comments on TEDxDiliman's Facebook page that the slots had already been fully-booked since September, so if ever I had known about this last month - I still couldn't make it. Good thing, John also posted a link to the live streaming video coverage of TV5's InterAksyon. Thanks again, John!

This event is titled How Art and Culture Can Change Our World. I've read the post about the live streaming around 2pm and the event already started on 1pm, so I missed some of the speakers. 

Here is the list of the speakers with their respective topics:
Glecy Cruz Atienza Buhay - Theater for Life *
Nina Lim-YusonLearning by Living: A Museo Pambata Story
Rico GutierrezTHINK TV: Empowering the Filipino Viewer *
Auraeus SolitoMy Search for Magic
Lourd de VeyraArt-Art Ka Diyan 
Noel CabangonO Juan / Simpleng Pilipino
Fernando SenaHow to Draw an Eye
Patricia EvangelistaWhy We Tell Stories 
Roby AlampayFreedom is Our Competitive Advantage
Bogie RuizAccountability / Countability 
Roy MoorePayatas FC: Changing Children’s Lives Through Football
* are the talks I missed.

Patricia Evangelista | Why We Tell Stories

I started watching the live stream coverage past 2pm. Ms. Patricia Evangelista was already speaking about the path she took with journalism. She mentioned her experience with the Maguindanao Massacre case which she went to the crime scene and had talked to the families of the victims. The talk has been mostly about how the previous administration had tolerated such number of killings of the journalists not just on Maguindanao massacre but also the individual cases of missing journalists and activists. It has also been mentioned how the present administration does little to no action to these cases. Journalists do tell the stories, for what it's worth - for the truth. Because of this, their lives have been exposed to threats of the insidious political crocs who could and would take lives just to maintain (or increase) the power they possess.

"The reason I tell stories again and again is because I cannot forget; and sometimes I'm afraid I will."
- P. Evangelista

Auraeus Solito | My Search for Magic

Around 2:30, the director of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) - Aureaus Solito has been introduced. His talk was mostly about her mother's eccentric stories - about a golden turtle, a poisonous stonefish and the secret spell to drive it away, and how knowing these stories made him different (and weird) to his classmates. He told stories about his tribe, Pal-a-wan where the name of the Palawan land was derived from. He then introduced his latest film "Busong," the Palawan concept of kapalaran or fate starring Ms. Alessandra de Rossi, who was also present at the event.

"Through cinema I try to heal... and ward off apathy and mediocrity."
- A.  Solito


Then, a 15-minute break took place. Afterwards, they played a TED video which showed the one of the 2009 TED Prize winners, José Abreu. The video is about how he started a project where anyone who has the passion to play music shall be taught music - whatever their status on the society is.

It lasted for some minutes I wasn't able to take note of because I was drawn by the message. I suddenly became a little bit emotional about the story because I remembered those times when I badly want to play the cello (and still am). I ended up playing violin because it's way much affordable than a cello. Well, that's a long story I couldn't tell here. Anyway, what drove me closer to the project are its goal and its message - you may be in material poverty, but once you learn how to play an instrument (and to play it well), it's a wealth you'll forever possess.

"The minute a child is taught how to play an instrument, he is no longer poor." 
 J.A. Abreu

Nina Lim-Yuson | Learning by Living: A Museo Pambata Story

The next talk was from Mrs. Nina Lim-Yuson which started around 3:30pm. She introduced the Museo Pambata, told individual stories of some children, and showed the brilliant worlds they did on the museum to let the children explore to the widest and the most creative knowledge base they could ever reach in a museum setup. She also mentioned that they are in need of corporate sponsors so they could go on with their projects.

"Children don't need a language to be able to understand one another." 
- N. Lim-Yuson

Fernando Sena | How to Draw an Eye

Around 3:45 was a drawing session with Mr. Fernando Sena. His topic was supposed to be only about How To Draw An Eye, but then he made a brief discussion about the basics - the lines going on to the shapes going on to the objects, and so on. The talk was most probably for the people without any art background. Somehow, I managed to learn some techniques I didn't know before. Plus, the short tutorial has been entertaining thanks to his funny yet authoritative approach to teaching.

"Ang portraits, mula ulo hanggang sa chest, di lalagpas dito [elbow line]. Di yung ulo saka leeg lang yung makikita." 
- F. Sena

Roy Moore | Payatas FC: Changing Children’s Lives Through Football

This was then followed by Mr. Roy Moore's story of starting a football community here in our country (he's a British if I remembered correctly). The football community is composed of children from poor families who have shown a great talent and passion in the sport.

"The most important [thing in football] is the platform it creates for social change."
- R. Moore

Lourd de Veyra | Art-Art Ka Diyan

Up next was a video from Sir Lourd de Veyra (around 4:25pm) titled Art-Art Ka Diyan where it questioned what art really is and what it is for. The known fast-transition clip style and large typographies were used to emphasize the issues. A lord of satire, indeed he is.

"Kung walang silbi ang art, bakit pa kanta ng kanta si Noel Cabangon?"
- de Veyra


Up next was a TED video of this year's TED Prize winner, JR - a photographer from Paris who started the Inside Out project where they print and put large black and white portraits on street walls and congested urban places.

I was amazed at how such an idea popped up on this guy, who preferred to remain anonymous. Well, the creatives are almost always unpredictable yet outstanding. This project just brought up what the society has buried below its creek, that is individuality.


Roby Alampay | Freedom is Our Competitive Advantage

Around 5pm, Mr. Roby Alampay started his talk about freedom. Freedom is a general word, yet often misunderstood. He traveled many cities and has witnessed journalists and artists getting arrested for trying to break free, even just by speaking and expressing themselves.

We Filipinos often disregard the fact that we are lucky enough to be in a democratic nation. What comes to our minds when we heard the word freedom? Freedom of speech, freedom of education, freedom of bashing other people behind their backs? Freedom to act nothing just because we are not required to do any action? Our freedom has been misguided. That's what I realized after hearing this talk. We need to use our freedom to its highest potential - not  to be abusive, but to be innovative; because we can.

"Freedom is not only underappreciated, it is undervalued. It has an economic value."
- Roby Alampay

Bogie Ruiz | Accountability / Countability 

The talk of Mr. Bogie Ruiz can be summarized to a two-word sentence: "Nothing matters." That's what he realized when he read the book "A Brief History of Time: From The Big Bang to Black Holes" by Stephen Hawking. I quite don't understand the later part of the talk because the video stopped for some minutes.

"Creativity would not thrive in a disorganized matrix."
- J.T. Ruiz

The event ended with a performance from Sir Noel Cabangon with his compositions Si Juan and Simpleng Pilipino while a mural on the background is painted by artists.

The TEDx event has introduced us (me, those who attended the event, and those who also watched the live stream) to many issues that were yet left unheard -- issues concerning not just the present state of the arts and the genuineness of the culture in our country, but also to social, political, and individual aspects affecting our perspective towards the world we're living in. Awareness of the problem leads to finding a solution. Awareness of the potential solutions leads to solving the problem in a more efficient way. Now we have awareness to both, it's time to do some action.

Photos are screenshots from TV5's InterAksyon live streaming video coverage.
Links: TEDxDiliman | Facebook | Twitter Hash | InterAkyon
Link/s to the uploaded video/s will also be included here.


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