Dispatches from a TEDxYouthDay reporter: Yasmine Tashk on TEDxYouth@Tallinn

This post comes from TEDxYouthDay reporter Yasmine Tashk, who watched TEDxYouth@Tallinn during TEDxYouthDay 2012.


Photo: Yasmine’s big dream for the world


Saturday, I sat in my apartment in Paris, all prepared to watch the TEDxYouthDay event in Tallinn, Estonia. I sat by my desk with my paper and pen on my left, my notes on my right, and my computer and scanner in front of me.

I decided to draw what I heard during the event — live. This was quite a challenge because I had to draw, focus on the talks, scan the drawings, and edit them on my computer — all while watching the speakers talk.

What I expected from the event besides the talks themselves was to gain inspiration: to see other people doing things they believe will change the world, to learn things that will lead me to change the world myself.

Photo: Yasmine’s live drawing of Rene Kukk at TEDxYouth@Tallinn.

In the end, two very spectacular speakers moved me the most. The first was Kärt Ojavee, the second, Kadri Bank.

Kärt is a textile designer and speculative designer part of a project called Symbiosis that develops interactive textile patterns. I first learned of speculative design last year while interviewing designers for my blog — people like James Auger, Diego Trujillo, and Michael Harboun. It’s interesting to see how certain people work to redesign our environment from products already in our everyday lives.

One of the products Kärt’s project created is a loveseat called SymbiosisS (“S” for Seat), which is made of a material that, while untouched, slowly moves in patterns meant to encourage relaxation. When a person moves or touches the fabric, the pattern changes, reacting to the touch, zoning in to the place it was moved. I would be really curious to experience this creation in person someday — maybe while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or at the metro station. Stress being the disease of our western world, this design could definitely have some healing virtues.

I found it very inspiring that Kärt comes from a field with a long line of withstanding traditions, and yet she is working to evolve the craft by using the technologies of today. I’m truly amazed by people who are taking part in the evolution of the world, no matter what field.

The second talk that really inspired me was from Kadri Bank. She spoke about how woman and men are portrayed in the media. Even though, as a woman, I am conscious about this difference in everyday life, I think it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of it once in a while. Particularly, I was moved by her notion that even though we are bothered by the clichés of the 60s housewife, we hardly notice that these clichés are still present, though in a different form. Growing up in the western world, I feel that many of us are so used to these type of clichés that we are not even shocked by them except when someone points them out.

Listening to Kadri’s talk, I realized that women are not the only ones who should be offended by this fact. In the media, men are not allowed to be something other than strong, powerful, and reliable. How boring it must be if you have no room to make mistakes. I want to be able to be many characteristics at once. I want to be able to see a variety of personalities and portraits in the media. I want these people to look as diverse as the ones that I see when I walk in the streets.

I sometimes wonder when the ad people will realise that the icons and heroes we want to see in the media are ones like the ones in our everyday lives — sisters, mothers, friends -– that they would benefit from creating characters more like them.

My last great discovery from the TEDxYouth@Tallinn was the band Tenfold Rabbit. What a great surprise to have a break during a conference filled by good music — not music that makes you want to go outside and have coffee and chat instead.

I stayed in front of the computer watching them instead of taking the break. Their music reminded me of the great Scandinavian pop music I enjoy when travelling in the north, while watching the beautiful snowy landscapes. I was overwhelmed by its great, cosy winter vibe. It calmed my nerves, relaxed me from the tension of drawing, writing, scanning for a few minutes and made me dream away.

At the end of the day, I closed my scanner for the last time and looked at my watch. I was surprised that the day had gone by so fast; it was so moving and intense. I was quite inspired, though a bit frustrated to have watched from home, rather than shared the experience in person with other attendees — but, still, I was happy for the great experience.

I went to join my friends at the café de l’Industrie here in Paris and talked about how I spent the day in Estonia and how nice it was. Hopefully I’ll see the city with my own eyes someday and meet the people in person — not through a screen.

Written by Yasmine Tashk.

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