How To Making A TEDx Presentation Visual To The Audience

TEDxDePaul Goes Visual

My phone rang, and it was Melissa from DePaul University wanting to know…”Are you up to it?”

“Heck yeah!” – and the deal was set.

I was a TEDx Visual Balloon Interpreter for the second time.  The first time was November 7th, 2014, for TEDxNaperville, and now 2018, DePaul University TEDxDPU.

The challenge is to convert a life-altering experience or idea and convert that into a 3-D sculpture that reignites the speaker’s message.

TEDxDePaul challenged me with the following speeches:

Here is the background on three of the eight sculptures created.

Team Funny Business – Karen Bartuch, Bradon Hendrix, Tammy Higgins, challenged me with depicting humor in business.

We see this in the airline industry where a sassy flight attendant has the passengers laughing in their seats with her fast-talking and funny quips like: “This is a no smoking, no whining, no complaining flight” and: “Although we never anticipate a loss in cabin pressure, if we did, we certainly wouldn’t turn up for work tonight… to activate the flow of oxygen, insert 75 cents for the first minute…”.  The attendants make their job fun and interesting for those they work with while giving out life-saving information.

My interpretation was to create a two head individual. One side was the clown holding a toy airplane, while the second head was a business person who came to work with a suitcase and was prepared for the workday.

Since most people can relate to a sassy flight attendant, I chose to dress my character as an airline attendant.  I added a balloon animal dog to his tie to incorporate this.

I purposely made this figure larger than life as this was a rare three-person TEDx talk.

In the Liberal Arts in Making of T-Shape People – Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, collaboration was the focus of the talk. Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco explained how “I-Shape” people know everything about something. Instead of “T-Shape people” who know something about everything.

Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco

I used the color purple to represent authority as I feel society looks at people with power as knowing.  Vasquez de Velasco had the audience stand up and make the “I-Shape” position, then spin around three times and stand in a “T-Shape.”  I wanted to express an “I-Shape” and had the character sitting with legs out and arms out to create a capital I.  The three spins were shown with 260-clear balloons swirling around the body.

When building this sculpture, I asked a DePaul University employee, “What’s the most popular hair color you see on campus?”  He instantly knew what I was asking and said, “Blue.”  With that information, I added a blue stripe in the hair to reflect the student population of DePaul University.

Reimage Forgiveness by Karli Butler story of being abducted and assaulted with acid was a story that had me thinking about how to express this person’s path from anger to forgiveness.

I want to show Butler in the now — based on how we read left to right, I expressed her emotions.  The left side is her present state now, happy and forgiving. The right side is the past and anger.

I chose to show Butler’s path by adding dashed lines to the face representing two lanes: the lane of forgiveness and the road of pain.   I described her body like an asphalt street having two lanes.   Butler now walks on the left lane of happiness and forgiveness, while the old path reflects the pain and the acid that scared her life.

I was given a heads up about this talk and never had a reason to make a bottle of acid, let alone draw a biohazard symbol, but now I can say I have done it.

I’ll break down the rest of the TEDxDPU talks in the next blog post.

Leave me a comment and tell me which is your favorite sculpture, and why?

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