Themes The Creative Spark

The Creative Spark

How are we inspired? Where might our imaginations take us? What does creativity look like in its wildest form? These clever, invigorating speakers plumb the wellspring of invention.

Writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams' exuberant talk explores the nature of storytelling, the changing face of filmmaking and the possibility that mystery is more important than knowledge. Artist and programmer John Maeda shares stories and observations about what complexity has taught him about simplicity, and how their relationship inspires him. Meanwhile, designer Philippe Starck explains how his iconic creations come by way of the primordial soup.

Golan Levin shows off his "software art": spellbinding audiovisual experiences that incorporate eerie sonic textures and tangles of color that move with life of their own. Pianist Jennifer Lin, just 14 when she performed at TED, confects stunning, virtuosic compositions on the fly. And illustrator Maira Kalman considers the role of knowledge (or lack thereof) in the creative process -- and concludes that daydreaming is the best job on Earth.

Don't miss game designer Will Wright's preview of Spore, in which players control the evolution of custom-designed critters -- and colonize a galaxy. Or the dancers of Pilobolus, who suggest a mutating organism that grows mouths and legs, slithers, drips like oil and turns itself inside out. And be sure to visit actor Anna Deavere Smith, who delves into history, crime, race and culture by channeling the voices of four authentic American characters.

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Play_iconEmily Pilloton: Teaching design for change

Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change

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