Fun, Folding and Philanthropy at TEDx SoMa

By May 21, 2010

Highlights from today's TEDx SoMa, an independently organized TED event in San Francisco, included a "folded" guitar performance, emotions in gameplay and cabinets of curiosities. For Nicole Lazzaro, "The Future of Work is Pla

y," as she illustrated during her talk recounting the process of studying emotional responses in the realm of gameplay. The founder of XEODesign and designer of a new iPhone game called Tilt describes a framework based on various kinds of fun: easy, serious and people. Balancing elements of curiosity and inspiration (easy fun), value and challenge (serious fun) and human sociality (people fun) into the everyday workplace is the key to her vision of the future: a workplace that unlocks human potential and improves quality of life through play.

Artist, teacher and founder/director Christopher Willits opened his talk with a rather broad statement: the Universe is composed of overlapping patterns of vibration - from subatomic, to the biggest we can imagine. Willits utilizes and manipulates specific forms of vibration in his performances by processing sounds and images through applications in a process he calls "folding" -a refraction of input sources into what becomes atmospheric, slightly abstract experiences.

UniversalGiving philanthropist Pamela Hawley claims that her project was founded by three objects, not by people. Travels in her youth led her to experience injustices in a very personal way, and she imbued objects related to these injustices -  misery, sexism and genocide - with an agency beyond the simple glue, pot and bones that she describes. Her organization works towards making volunteering and donating part of everyday life, and is funded by companies that hire them to develop social projects. This means that when anyone else visits the Web site, they can search an extensive database of causes and benefits that are pre-vetted for quality, donate to or volunteer for them, and know that one hundred percent of proceeds go directly to the charity.

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