Today’s talk isn’t so much a “talk” as a hilarious topsy-turvy performance by Hetain Patel that reflects on an identity forged as much from Spider-Man comics and Bruce Lee movies as by a father who emigrated from India to the United Kingdom in the 1960s. An excerpt from his latest stage work, Be Like Water, […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
"What determines our identities anyway?" asks Hetain Patel. As a child, Patel wanted to be like Spider-Man or Bruce Lee; later, he aimed to be more like his father, who displays a much different kind of bravery. From these ambitions, Patel's new show Be Like Water examines shifting identities of all kinds, using dance and bold imagery to power a story of self-examination and self-creation.
As a conceptual artist, Patel has used photography, sculpture, installation and performance to challenge cultural identity. For his work, he has grown a mustache exactly like the one his father wore when he emigrated from India to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and remixed the practice henna tattooing to incorporate English words and comics books. Patel's conclusion about identity: that it is an ever-shifting game of imitation.
Hetain Patel’s TED talk
Hetain Patel on the TED Blog
“I don’t know how to introduce this, so I’ll just say, ‘Hetain Patel,'” says TED curator Chris Anderson. So no one knows what to expect, and that’s as may be, because this is some crazy right here. Patel walks onstage and crouches in a chair next to the dancer Yuyu Rau. He speaks a few […]Continue reading
In the wilds of planet Earth, there exists a species so creative that it not only uses tools but is constantly rewriting the rules of what a tool can be, so cooperative that they build wildly complex systems to support each other and so consternating that its inconsistent behavior would make even the most seasoned […]Continue reading