Unveiling the theme, accompanying artwork and two event speakers today (January 26 2015), TEDxQueenstown co-curator Trent Yeo said Illumination was a “broad topic that means many things to many people”.
“After lots of discussion and brainstorming with the army of volunteers and peers, we decided Illumination perfectly epitomizes Queenstown and has such potential to yield some great speeches.”
“It’s already provoked a lot of discussion within the ranks as to what it means to all of us,” he said.
The organizing committee of over 25 committed volunteers has also been hard at work curating an inspirational weekend, thought provoking activities and mind expanding speakers for the event.
‘We’ve been blown away by the people we have connected with over the last few months and have been inundated with speaker requests. Finding a right mix of speaker that fits with our theme and what Queenstown stands for is key”, said Mr Yeo.
The first two speakers announced are Auckland-based sand artist Marcus Winter (aka The Sand Man) and Australian-based traveler, entrepreneur and social activist Mark Balla.
Marcus Winter has been likened to a sorcerer conjuring mystical apparitions out of thin air. His work is extraordinary. It blurs the lines between conventional painting, street art and theatrical performance and he will perform on the day.
He creates live artworks by placing sand on a lightbox, and manipulates sand to create images that morph into amazing stories. His work is visually mesmerising, creatively fresh and evokes emotion.
Mark Balla is originally from Newcastle, England and now calls Melbourne home. He is a self-proclaimed traveler, entrepreneur, and social activist. During his entrepreneurial career, Mark visited India over 20 times and it was during this time he developed a love/hate relationship with the country. Torn between its beauty and obvious poverty.
Speaking about the event’s Illumination theme, Mark said “In the world of the passionate social entrepreneur, Illumination is all about an “aha” moment.
“My moment came in the slums of Mumbai around three or four years ago and there appears to be no off switch.
“So I will be talking shit on your stage for as long as you’ll let me,” said Balla.
“I will be looking at how my social cause affects women and girls in India and what is being done about it. Wait for it, as it will keep people glued to their seat.
“I’ve been to Queenstown once on a family holiday to the South Island of NZ. Queenstown was definitely the highlight of our visit. One of the great adventure lands of the world. I’m looking forward to illuminating your audience.
“We’re really looking forward to working with these two inspirational – yet completely different – speakers/performers,” said Mr Yeo.
“Queenstown is renowned for nurturing new ideas and businesses and is home to many New Zealand and world firsts, such as the jet boat engine, bungy jumping, zip lining, stem cell therapy and many more entrepreneurial ideas and businesses.”
“Entire companies and ethos have been built on a moment – the illumination point when an idea became a reality. It’s important to understand where these sparks came from,” said Mr Yeo.
“To me Illumination highlights the culture of bringing great ideas to life.
“As an entrepreneur and successful business owner my illumination came when I realised you need to surround yourself by people who are smarter than you, who inspire you and make you feel humbled.
“The people who are the best in their field and leading edge thinkers inspire me every day and it’s these kind of people who are involved in TEDx events around the world,” said Mr Yeo.
The team is continuing to work with other potential speakers, and this year performances will come from not only inspiring orators but also the person who lives next door and has a great story to tell – those who illuminate their own world in their own unique way.
“TEDxQueenstown offers something a little special. People should get ready for an intimate and magical show where you’ll feel personally connected to the person on stage, while being part of a live studio production being projected around the world.
“Queenstown is an edgy place that naturally attracts a special type of person and TEDxQueenstown brings these like-minded people together for half a day of creative thinking.”
Anyone interested in taking part as a speaker should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit the website and complete the initial expression of interest form.