Aurora Robson has absolutely no problem with trash talk…especially when it has to do with turning refuse into things of beauty. The 2013 TEDxPeachtree speaker talks about how the focus of her work, transforming plastic debris into works of art came to be, “There have been so many purely unexpected changes in my life that have become catalysts for irreversible changes! The moment I saw a heap of garbage outside my studio in Brooklyn and realized instantaneously that plastic debris was everywhere and was a virtually unexplored medium for making art with was one such moment for me. It was like a veil was lifted and I saw a clearer path.”
Catalysts come from many places, some planned, some not. Aurora hopes, as do other speakers involved with TED and TEDx talks everywhere, that attendees will be moved and changed by what they hear. “I am excited,” she says about presenting on November 8th, “because if I do a good enough job, this could be an opportunity for me to be a catalyst in terms of introducing an idea that could have a positive impact on the world for generations to come.”
When asked if her focus on using items destined for landfill has been more about recycling/re-using or about making something beautiful out of something no longer functional, Aurora states, “Neither.” The focal point of her work “is more about finding a balance and creating harmony out of dissonance. I am really interested in making art in a way that has been previously unexplored while being as conscientious as possible.” Aurora has taken this a step further by creating a college class, “Sculpture + Intercepting the Waste Stream,” which she taught at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.
Aurora is excited at the potential impact this course could have on students and environments. It’s “a model that if implemented internationally at colleges that offer sculpture programs could actually restrict the flow of debris to our oceans. It also affords young art students with an opportunity to present their work in a professional setting, experience what is like to create work with a broad range of cultural and social relevancy, and create sustainable art that has the potential to sustain them economically.”
When the artist takes the stage on November 8th at the Buckhead Theater to deliver her first TEDx presentation, it won’t be her first TED-related experience. Earlier this year, she and two other transformative artists presented their work at TEDActive. Sometime later, the Lincoln Motor Company created and unveiled videos about the three at a TED@250 salon talk in New York. The videos were part of the launching of the TED/Lincoln Re-imagine Project.
“The TED/Lincoln Re-imagine Prize came as a great surprise to me,” confides Aurora. “Receiving the prize has given me fuel, courage and the confidence to persevere.”
And that’s not talking trash.
Wendy Kalman attended the 2009 TEDxPeachtree event and became hooked, volunteering each year ever since. By day, she works as a Proposal Manager, and by night, her alter ego as involved parent, engaged volunteer, music lover, and Facebook addict emerges.