An exclusive screening of some of the best talks from TED’s major annual conference held in Vancouver attracted a large crowd of people to Tir Na Noq, The Merchant Room in Aarhus

By Carina Britorn Vestergaard

The pre-event, which was the first of its kind before this year’s TEDxAarhus, started with a short introduction by Jaramie Lawrence from TEDxAarhus. After a short recap on last year’s event ”Look Closer”, he revealed the venue for this year’s TEDxAarhus as well as the theme of the year.

To emphasize the event’s local, urban feeling, Centralværkstedet in the heart of Aarhus will be the new venue for TEDxAarhus on 5 October with the exciting theme being: [RE]*

[RE]* – understood as the prefix, the word forming element meaning again, undoing, backwards, anew, once more – allows us to shift perspective and think outside the box, – refocus, – reintegrate and much more. And therefore, all participants were asked to give their take on the theme [RE]*.

The Merchant Room was filled, and all eyes were fixed to the screens in the room as the selected talks started.

Jon Gray

Culinary evangelist Jon Gray is the voice of Ghetto Gastro, a cooking advocacy collective that ignites conversations about race, class and inclusion via the medium of food.

With Ghetto Gastro as a platform, and with what Jon Gray calls Durag-diplomacy, he and the three other guys in the cooking collective design products, creates content and arrange events to challenge people’s perspective of Bronx and improve integration.

“For us Ghetto means home,” says Jon Gray explaining that Ghetto Gastro is a movement in philosophy using food to open borders and connect cultures.

Hannah Gadsby

Serious comedian who focuses on the contradictions of being a stand-up comedian and a shy person at the same time – and  the contradictions of being both bad at talking and good at talking.

Having been diagnosed with autism Hannah has had trouble figuring out her purpose in life. She describes how she used to be at the mercy of her traumas and found that she was connecting other people through laughter at her own expense. Recognising that comedy should not come at the expense of a person’s experience, she created a show without the expected punchlines. Instead she used her show for punching through the laughing.

”I broke comedy and rebuilt it so it could hold what I wanted to share. It’s not the garden – it is the gardening that counts,”  she said. And so, through an act of disconnection,  she created connection.

Jack Dorsey

Entrepreneur, programmer and the CEO of Twitter

How Twitter needs to change

Jack Dorsey was interviewed by TED head Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers on Twitter discourse and how to avoid harassment, abuse and toxicity in dialogue. Twitter has 330 million active users and according to the interviewers, it seems that eloquent insults are the success parameter of being a top-tweeter on Twitter.

However, Jack Dorsey and his organization are working to make Twitter a safe space for people so they should not experience abuse and harassment. One of the initiatives is the use of filters to measure toxicity in dialogue. Within a year, 38% of all abuse is automatically identified by use of algorithms that detect abusive language. He stresses, that for Twitter to run a successful business it is important to give people better tools to act on it. Moreover, Dorsey and his organization are looking at what Twitter incentivises its users to do and how the service can make a shift in the dynamics. Much more than today, he wants Twitter to provide people with useful ideas and discussions.

Joseph Gordon Levitt, Actor, filmmaker, entrepreneur

The key to creativity? Start paying attention

Having had the privilege of getting his fair share of attention – and working with paying attention in the sense of focusing intensely on his work, Joseph Gordon Levitt wonders if our creativity is becoming only a means to an end. And that is – to get attention. He talks about the addiction to getting attention from followers on social media – and the feeling of inadequacy due to the number of followers no matter how high that number is. You never feel you have arrived – and you are not feeling good.

“In my experience, the more you go after getting attention – the more unhappy you get – however, – the more you go after the feeling of paying attention – the happier you get,” he says and explains that if your creativity is driven by craving attention, your creativity will never make you feel fulfilled. However, the flow created in your brain when you are paying attention – and focus – that is what makes you feel fulfilled.

In his work as an actor, Joseph Gordon Levitt use that exact ability:  “I’ve heard the sequence so many times, it’s become like a pavlovian magic spell: ​rolling, speed, marker ​(clap)​, set, and action​. Something happens to me, I can’t even help it. My attention narrows. And everything else in the world, anything else that might be bothering me, or that might otherwise grab my attention, it all goes away. And I’m just there.”

“If you’re looking for creative fulfilment, that’s the feeling you want to be going after,” he says.