January 26, 2010

Re:purpose

Recap by Bo Adams from Westminster Schools Junior High

Yesterday I attended one of the most profound learning experiences of my life. At noon, as I anticipated the start of the program, I read the elegantly simple packet that I was given at the door. In it, I read that I was expected to 1) Lend my brain, 2) Go the distance, and 3) Pass it along.

Soon after, I listened to the complexly layered music of Zoë Keating. With one cello, one computer, and a looping device, Zoë mesmerized my auditory senses with a rich reusing of just-played tracks to support her in-time playing. She also provided me with a metaphor for the day — thinking, recording thought, replaying thought while layering on the next thought prompted by the next speaker or conversation.

As the afternoon progressed, I understood better the theme for the day…the common thread — Re:purpose. How can we see the things in our world with a different eye for use and sustainability? How can we take the cast-out, the no-longer-used, the excess and make a positive purpose emerge from the waste? How can we replace the Gestalt of “either-or” with “both-and”?

Matthias Hollwich opened my mind to ECONIC architecture (ecology + iconics); Ellen Dunham-Jones challenged me to consider reuse of dead retail space through New Urbanism; Adam Kalkin exposed my senses to how we might use cargo containers to build warm-hearted houses.

After lunch, Melissa Kushner, Steve Mugiri, and Kevin and Hannah Salwen wove a tapestry for dealing with excess by sharing, inventing, and halving. While the time was linear, the content was webbed, weaved, and layered…looped and remixed…Re:purposed! And Unboundary was the ideal place…the ideal host. TEDxAtlanta was “the ultimate brain spa.” I long for May and the next event.