Art Performance at TED

Like almost every egghead, I love TED and TEDx talks.

Most TED talks are intellectual pieces. They are discussions of research, or good ideas of some kind, delivered as a short lecture. Others are works of performance.

I have found that some of these art pieces are unsatisfying, not because they are examples of bad art, but because it violates what I think art at TED should be about: pushing boundaries.

The motto of TED is "ideas worth spreading." The key here is "ideas." I feel that unless there is some interesting conceptual element to the piece, it does not belong at TED, such as masterful art done in a traditional way. For example, I don't want to see straight-up ballet, music, or anything like that, no matter how well done it is. It's not that it's not good, it's that it's not TED.

I just watched Mark Applebaum's talk and I thought it was perfect for TED, because it stretches the boundaries of what art (in this case music) can be like. It's inspiring. You can watch it at

There is nothing wrong with traditionally-done art. I like a lot of it very much, including stuff I've seen on TED. For example, the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers:

It's hip hop dancing, liquid dancing, tutting, etc. Are these dance forms pushing the boundaries of dance? Hip hop dancing has been around for over twenty years. Tutting less so. As much as I loved it, I don't want to let my personal affection for hip hop sway my intellectual opinion that it's probably not TED material.

There are plenty of venues for traditional art. Let's let TED be about ideas.

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