While I was still preparing my lightning talk for Creative Tech Week in May, I got an email from TEDxVilnius asking if I would speak at their event in June.

This gave me just a few weeks to shuffle around my existing commitments, and stretch out a 5 minute talk to a tech crowd into a 15 minute talk for a general audience.

I had to scramble a bit, but I'm glad I did it.

About the talk

This talk gave me the opportunity to talk not only about my art practice, but that of those in the community around me. I could explain how the projects we are supporting as part of the arts residency fit together as a package, and help us look at the future of society.

Subjects I cover in the talk include trans-humanism, climate change, DNA as data and brain surveillance. That's a lot for one talk, but I'm hoping it all comes together to show how art and technology are powerful tools for looking into the future of society.

About the conference

The organizers of the TEDxVilnius event were surprisingly excellent. I had no idea that it was run by volunteers — I thought that considering how organized they were they must all be getting paid.

Holding an old, small TEDx sign
Holding an old, small TEDx sign

Once I actually got out to Vilnius and met them all, I realised it was all a labour of love. They did it because they really cared about the speakers, their content and bringing and sharing these ideas with communities in Lithuania.

They really wanted the speakers to have a smooth ride, to intermix and to meet and discuss with local people. They organized several social events, ran coaching sessions and sound-checks, and worked extra hard on building a sense of community.

Exploring Vilnius with the other TEDx speakers and organisers
Exploring Vilnius with the other TEDx speakers and organisers

The result for me was a very special experience. I know from talking with other speakers that many others felt that way too.

Being based in North America I'm not sure when I'll next have the chance to visit Lithuania — but I hope it's soon.