Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ted Lectures

Edward Burtynsky on Manufactured Landscapes

I chose Edward Burtynsky's lecture because of the fact that he' one of the premier landscape photographers in the world, dealing with the earth being manipulated through machinery, capitalism, progress, and western ideology. By far one of my favorite photographers, I felt that hearing a lecture on his work could open up new avenues in which my work can progress through. His lecture begins dealing with his interest in the landscape and its transformative qualities from human consumption and manipulation. Being from Canada, he's used to great wide open landscapes untouched by civilization and human manufacturing. He began by exploring coal and rock mining areas of America and soon began to realize where the work was headed. Hillsides being carved for consumption, digging into the world's natural splendor to help drive the population seemed to fascinate Burtynsky. His work then entered a new realm when he traveled to China to photograph their blossoming industry and increasingly western mindset. He was shooting factories, ruins of cities, dams, places of commerce, recycling villages, and much more. It was as if the remnants of America moved here, the capitalistic growth that America had thrived on for years moved across the pacific into a growing economy. The tremendous production China was receiving from us in the west, our consumption is being fueled by China as we speak. Much of the work calls for awareness about the carbon footprint that we leave on this planet and the environmental repercussions of just about anything we do, from buying a cotton shirt, to throwing away an obsolete computer, disposing waste, and putting in new concrete at your house. Everything is tied to one another.

Ueli Gegenschatz Soars in a Wingsuit

I chose this to balance my research between the landscape and extreme sports. this was the only lecture to touch on extreme sports in the TED that I saw. It's about an extreme athelete names Ueil Gegenschatz, though relatively brief on his part due to his slightly broken English, it provides a good background into different aspects of extreme sports and odd sports to consider. Ueil Gegenschatz is a world class athlete that has done just about every stunt imaginable to man. From base jumping off of mountains, bridges, building, and even the Eiffel Tower. He's para-sailed down cliffs, jumped out of planes hundreds of times, off of moving vehicles, and even jumped off a hot air balloon over the Alps. He's pretty much done it all in the extreme sports. He goes into the background of why he does this and feels a need to push himself further and further and test the limits of the Earth and himself. He revels that a lot of his inspiration for doing what he does comes from childhood dreams of flight and realizing an unlimited potential when at that age. Another driving factor is having the mental capacity to be able to attempt these feats. There's an exhilarating rush and euphoria that comes with the jumps. Although he didn't say that much, his video reveals many more answers. You can understand that being human, we are born with inherent limitations to what we can and can't do, Ueil Gegenschatz, blurs the line of that. Realizing the human dream of flight and continually pushing himself to the max in order to prove that he is his only limitation.

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