TED Conversations

Chris Anderson

Curator, TED


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How will you take part in JR's TED Prize wish?

First, if you haven't seen it yet, watch the amazing TED Prize speech given by French street artist JR. He's initiating a spectacular global art project that anyone can participate in. But how? This is up to the creative imagination of people around the world.
- Is there an amazing "invisible person" you know of, whose portrait should be shared with the world?
- Is there a tough issue you'd like to stand up for in public with your own portrait?
- Can you imagine energizing a local community around either of these?
- Can you imagine finding a spectacular local site to post giant portraits?
- Other thoughts? (You may spark something for someone else!)

Topics: TED Prize art

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  • Mar 13 2011: I already did street art, but I didn't sign it then and won't discuss it under my name now. There is an idea that I had the first time I saw Face2Face on the Wall.

    When I was a student, I taught math to inmates. We were not allowed to wonder what they were in for, but personality and sentences were often give-aways. The student I taught the longest (and with the least math skills) was in for “15 if not 20 years” which is exceptionally long for a lenient country like mine—almost exclusively extremely violent offenders. The guy was a sloth, beaten by life more than anyone else, and that was in an institution where half of the answers to my questions were “to prevent us from committing sucide” and the other half “so that we stay locked in here for good.” Based on the attitude of the other inmates, and what he told of his family visits, I had to assume that he had been a child molester. A teacher of mine was framed for that years earlier, and he had the same attitude, beaten-to-bovine-stare.

    If I had the courage, the connexion and the political gusto, I would ask his photo, and those of his peers, probably their head buried in their arms, crushed by remorse, to be pasted on the outside Women shelters. They need reminders that the perpetrator suffers far more than they ever will.

    If you think this is too much, consider that every Palestinian has had half of his family blown away, and they welcomed Isreali portaits (and vice versa).

    What about reciprocity? I'm not sure having photo of battered women won't drop jail mood into an even deeper level, neither would staring eyes, and smiling women is probably the worst: forests remain the best idea.

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