TEDxSMU DISRUPTION 2011: OUR BREAKFAST WITH JAUME AND MAYA

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Above: “Transcendence,” an ice sculpture installation by Shane Pennington opened the TEDxSMU conference

We attended the 2011 TEDxSMU DISRUPTION* conference, held this week at the Wyly Theater in downtown Dallas. The astonishing variety of speakers sparked discussions about the positive connotations of disruption: the epiphanies, the moments of moral obligation to initiate change, and the transcendent nature of art, how it stirs the soul to engage with what is vulnerable and fragile on the earth and in its people.

“Nuria” and “Irma” by Jaume Plensa seem tp contain the landscape in their heads at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

We had the pleasure of hosting one of the speakers and a voice for the world’s most ‘at risk’ children, Maya Ajmera, founder of the The Global Fund for Children and an author of children’s books**. But, the most transcendent moment for us came while having breakfast with Maya, another speaker, sculptor Jaume Plensa, his wife, Laura Medina, and their host, architect Betsy del Monte of The Beck Group. As we talked about the business of making art and how artists create objects or work that give a form to our souls, Jaume interrupted with the statement, “what is important are not the things we make–it’s how we orient ourselves to the world.”

His message to us is this: we build our lives, one interaction at a time. And just as cells slowly associate with one another, eventually arriving at a construction of a single unique body, so do we create meaning in our associations with people. Eventually, positive change in our communities and society as a whole disrupts the inertia to maintain the status quo, wherever we may be. Maya and Jaume are creating a dialogue at rapid speed, interrupting ‘business as usual, re-shaping the world as we’ve come to accept it. They refuse to settle. And they inspired us to disrupt our comfort in order to create more beauty and comfort for others.

• *to break a circuit

• ** for every book you purchase on Maya’s website, a book will be sent to a child in a school supported by the Global Fund

“Clouds 365” by Jaume Plensa rests on the pavilion to greet visitors at the door to the Meadows Museum at SMU

Video of Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa in Chicago:

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