In September I gave a talk at TEDxMontreal in the Dome at Le SAT. It was entitled “The Future Imaginary”, and the video went live this week.
The talk was about the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace work we’ve been doing over the last six years, and was based on a book chapter called “A Better Dance and Better Prayers: Systems, Structures and the Future Imaginary in Aboriginal New Media” that will be published this winter in a collection called Coded Territories: Tracing Indigenous Pathways in New Media Art.
It was a great experience, mainly because it forced me to reflect (with lots of input from Skawennati) on The Big Idea behind AbTeC. And then I had to hone it down to fifteen minutes, while avoiding the silicon valley techno-boosterish naiveté that seems to underlie many TED talks. I found out that, in fifteen minutes, it’s quite difficult not to go that direction.
I watched a number of TED talks to get a sense for what felt like the right approach for me, given I’ve given very few general audience presentations. I modeled my approach on this understated by terribly powerful talk by Chimamanda Adichie on “The Danger of A Single Story”, with a little of Bryan Stevenson’s unflinching “We Need to Talk About an Injustice” and Sarah Kay’s emotive “If I Should Have a Daughter” thrown in. Go watch them now, especially Adichie’s.
I also memorized the talk, which I haven’t done in almost twenty years because it usually causes more trouble than it’s worth. But it worked this time, and I’m glad I did it that way. The TED crew was very professional, and the whole thing went off smoothly*.
*: Where I say “In a world where 800 people…use Facebook weekly”, I mean, of course “800 million”. I didn’t even notice the mistake at the time.