Making Peace with the Portrait – Kelly Mellos at TEDxSanDiego 2016

What is it about the human face that is so engaging and powerful?

You often hear that someone is the face of a movement, or the face of change. But what does that really mean? Does simply looking someone in the face, really taking a moment to study that person’s face – at the surface and beyond – have the power to bring about peace?

Artist Kelly Mellos, who left her life in the corporate business world to pursue a career in portraiture, toyed with this concept when she brought together a group of Palestinian and Israeli students and asked them to sit face-to-face and draw portraits of each other.

For Mellos, painting brings about a presence. When she runs her pencil or paintbrush over a face, she “softens into feelings of lucidity and deep reverence within the light of (her) subject.” Could the same feelings be stirred up in those who have been taught to be enemies?

“I thought there might be a possibility of transforming helplessness into hope,” she said. In a portrait workshop group through a peace program called Hands of Peace, Mellos got to test out her theory among teens who rarely get to meet and get to know one another.

The resulting workshop was an intriguing look into the power of humanity and the human face.

Kelly Mellos Website

Hands of Peace

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What Makes Us Uniquely Human? – Erwin McManus at TEDxSanDiego 2015

Erwin McManus sets out to answer that question in his engaging and contemplative talk on the power of human imagination. To be human, he says, is to have the innate power to materialize the invisible. That is, we possess a gift that allows us to create a future that does not yet exist.

Our unique abilities to imagine and create separate humans from all other species on Earth. Our imagination can haunt us, however, as we wonder if we’re living out the full potential of who we are as a human being. It can challenge us to strive for something greater – to be something greater. And most importantly, this gift to envision a brighter future can inspire us to innovate, drive us to achieve, and move us to do things we never thought possible.

Erwin urges us to awaken the creative genius within each of us. His on-stage presence is not only full of humor and candor, but he touches on points that are so crucial to our potential as humans. He asserts, “We are all works of art and artists at work.” And thus, it is not a question of “will we create?” but rather, “what will we create?”

Erwin McManus Website

Erwin McManus on Twitter

Erwin McManus on Facebook

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The Age of Magic – Natasha Tsakos at TEDxSanDiego 2015

If all of history stood on a one-year scale, humans have existed for the amount of time it takes you to blink. This realization emphasizes not only how much humans have accomplished during our relatively short history, but also how incredible the current time we live in is. Natasha Tsakos, a conceptual director, interactive designer, and idea generator calls our period in history the “Age of Magic.”

Natasha points out some of the seemingly impossible breakthroughs that 2015 has seen. She then fuses music, lighting, and vivid descriptions to bring the audience’s minds to see her vision of technological discoveries over the next 25 years.

Natasha activates and inspires our imagination through her theatrical performance style. She explains that her lifelong fascination with theatrical performance shaped her brain to break down the normal, systematic way of looking at the world, and to truly believe that anything is possible.

Her talk, which integrates technology with live performance, embodies her concept that we possess the technology to create anything we can dream of—we just need the creativity and innovation to imagine it.

Natasha notes that for the past century, humans have acted as the machines and robots of the Industrial and Information ages. To keep up with the technological shift our world is making, humanity must shift to a creative state.

She also explains how different forms of art inspire the innovation necessary to create new inventions. It takes people who think differently to create a different world, asserting creativity is not a gift, but an attitude that we practice. In conclusion, Natasha offers her six steps to make a habit of creativity, so that we may invent, grow, and make a future that no one can predict.

Natasha Tsakos Website

Natasha Tsakos on Twitter

Natasha Tsakos on Facebook

Natasha Tsakos on YouTube

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