Beauty, Imagination, and Enchantment at TED’11


So I’m back from the whirlwind adventure they call TED where I had the unique opportunity to present a 9-minute talk to a room of nearly 1,500 brilliant people. It was an inspiring and transformative experience to say the least!


TED is an event dedicated to “ideas worth spreading”. But sorting through one’s own ideas can be challenging and sometimes daunting. In the process of putting together this talk I received amazing advice, support, and feedback. I owe buckets of gratitude to the following people:

  • Carrie Schulz, Kati London, Rob Faludi, and Clay Shirky – cherished friends and colleagues from my NYC crew whose provided priceless words of wisdom along the way
  • Gabe Sawhney, Suzanne Stein, Emma Westecott, Ann Poochareon and Mark Argo – the generous Torontonians who listened patiently and helped ease my nerves in the months leading up to the event
  • John Rose, Ted Redelmeider, Jason Bellenger, Tony Wong – my climbing partners who constantly push me to seek new heights
  • James Kachan – for swooping in with his photo ninja skills
  • Stephen Marion – for timely feedback & hand-holding the night before my final rehearsal
  • Bill & Judy Hartman – my remarkable parents who manage to always support my crazy projects and life pursuits
  • Brady Forrest – who organized the Ignite session at FOO camp, the talk which led to my TED invite
  • June Cohen – Executive Producer of TED Media, for her open mind and spirit, for curating a fantastic session, and of course for inviting me to speak at TED’11
  • Chris Anderson – TED’s Curator and fearless leader, for some great bits of advice and for running such a kick-ass event
  • Beatrice Coron, Sarah Kay, Shey Humphrey, Jason Mraz – for being completely awesome. I could not imagine sharing that stage with a more inspired and insightful group of people.

Beyond individuals, there’s always the influence of the communities and institutions that provide safe havens for different aspects of our development. Many of the projects shown in my talk were created as a result of my many incarnations at ITP/NYU. A huge thank you to that community, and especially to Red Burns, Dan O’Sullivan, and Tom Igoe for their encouragement and influence over the years. And of course a shout out to OCAD University, the institution that swung me across the border and into the role of Assistant Professor at the tender age of 28. I would be in a much different place right now without this opportunity.



My work is inspired and driven by people. Whether they be collaborators, participants, or documentarians, they influence and embody the things I make and the stories I tell. Here are the people involved in the images, videos, and projects included in my slides:

  • Besides myself, my devices were also kindly modeled/demonstrated/performed by Preston Noon, Steven Jackson, Alice Planas, Gabe Barcia-Colombo, John Schimmel, Corey Menscher, Joo Youn Paek.
  • Photography credits go to Michael Dory (Earbender & Discommunicator), Sai Sriskandarajah (Wearable Wall), and Theo Humphries (glacier image).
  • Botanicalls is an ongoing project done in collaboration with Rob Faludi and Kati London. It was also originally conceived of and developed in collaboration with Rebecca Bray.
  • The glacier project is deeply inspired by conversations and travels with my friend and colleague Angus Leech. I look forward to continuing these as the project unfolds.


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