For the second TEDx event at the University of Luxembourg, a diverse ensemble of speakers, dancers and musicians took the stage on 25 October 2019. A lecture hall on Belval campus turned into a show of lights and shadows for a full-day event themed “Rewiring our future”.
Hosted by Master student Mara Kroth, the event was livestreamed on the University Facebook page; each session is available at the bottom of this article.
The umbrella theme was broad enough to include a number of questions, issues or ideas, all of which have the potential to improve the future. “The first TEDx event at the University was themed ‘Ideas 4.0,’ a reference to the revolutionary character of Industry 4.0 applied to humankind,” explains Robert Reuter, senior lecturer at the University and TEDx licence holder. “We wanted a logical continuation of the 2018 theme, with a focus on sustainability and how interaction between traditional expression and modern technologies works.”
Thought-provoking stories on human relations and individual development were in the focus. Alma Karim shared her lifetime quest for a home after leaving Syria, while Alla Gubenko addressed the interplay between intelligence and creativity, and the urgent need to bolster creativity among children. The audience swayed during Edsun’s explosive dance performance that called for more personal touch and openness. Silence reigned as Nicole Sibenaler recalled life as a hearing-impaired teenager and how discovering sign language changed it forever.
In the sphere of science and academia, creative and human solutions were put forward. Anna Stavdal advocated for the core values in medicine, which slowly disappear in today’s hyper-specialised and fragmented health system. Marie-Laure Zollinger evoked the fragility of the trust chain in proxy votes, and how cryptography can provide solutions to ensure verifiable and democratic elections. Nicolò Maccaferri explained how metamaterials surrounding us – from cathedral glass windows to trees or gold – interact with light, particles and waves to create surprising effects, bringing the possibility of an invisibility cloak closer to reality than ever.
The intersection between technology and art were at the heart of three interventions. It is essential for scientists to admit that they do not have all the facts, so that they can apply new systems to study and present information, such as 3D modelling in archaeology, explained Marleen de Kramer. Christopher Morse offered a view into future museums, where cultural heritage is explored through an intersection of objects, user interfaces and emotions. Andreas Bock Michelsen explained how he calls on computers to create fractal poetry, an inherent contradiction.
Nature and the environment were approached from two very different angles by Stan Schymanski and Fabio Dalmonte. The first showed how plants react on information from their environment and think ahead to produce oxygen, while the latter proposed a feasible solution to prevent plastic waste from reaching oceans where it wreaks havoc.
Inspiration comes in all kinds of human expression, such as dance and music. The eight members of Pachamama Family astonished the audience with a multilingual hip-hop beat, while Francisco Fernandez (The Ferocious Few) rocked the hall with his soulful mix of blues, country and rock music. Bartleby Delicate completed the ensemble with calm electronic guitar sounds.
See the photos of the event on the TedxUniversityofLuxembourg Facebook page. High-quality video recordings will be available in 3-4 weeks on the TEDx Youtube channel.