This year at TEDxVienna About Time, a completely new format was introduced to the conference to give the attendees an even better connection to the speakers: The Coffeehouse Talks are an interactive experience where questions can be submitted by the audience via an app, and they are in turn answered by speakers during their slots.
Six speakers took their time to expand on the topics introduced at their talks.
First, Chase Masterson gave some insight into the world of a Hollywood life and the true difficulties of living as a public person. She shared her number one tip to fight bullying: To be mindful of people and to stand up for each other. Don’t forget to catch her at the Museumsquartier, where she will be the artist in residence for the entirety of November!
Oded Rechavi was the second guest of the Coffee House Talks. He is a radical science researcher, who shared with us his discovery that acquired traits may be inherited via RNA molecules. This might mean that memories can be inherited too. But it is challenging to find out which cells are responsible for memory inheritance. So far, he and his team have conducted experiments on parasites which sit inside of brain cells and secrete protein. Oded is now working on manipulating these parasites in order to transfer specific drugs into the brain. He explained that if memory was inherited in the molecules, not cells, it would be possible to predict a lot of things and even prevent some diseases.
Abdi Latif Dahir, a New York Times journalist, shared his thoughts over a coffee in the cozy atmosphere of our Talks. The theme of his conversation was not that easy, though. During his talk, Abdi shared his
way of finding happiness and capturing beautiful moments in memories while living in a war-torn country. For him, the escape from problems was the photo studio in Mogadishu, where Abdi and his family used to ‘freeze the moments’. While answering the questions from the audience, Abdi explained why it is so important to capture happy moments even though there is devastation outside. And the answer is simple: because there may be no tomorrow. People stir for moments of joy even if there is a chance of dying every day, which is something a lot of people don’t understand about living in a war zone, Abdi confided.
During the last session before the TEDx Talks would recommence, Sarah Funke Butler spoke about our tendency to “accumulate” things. She expanded on her Talk by speaking about how authors’ writing processes are documented, and how different they are for women and for men.
Vera de Silva Sinha raised questions that almost all of us are still chewing on: What even is time? What does it feel like to not sense time the way that we do? She’s spent many months among tribes who have an event-based time perception and was accepted with open arms into their society. Finally, she leaves us with the message that we should all have more respect for nature.
The last Coffeehouse Talk featured Kacey Wong, who shared with us some final words on how protest can change the world we live in. He told us about how he uses humor to circumvent rules before the government, and stresses that we need to make the Hongkong problem visible in Europe, calling it a Western city in an Eastern land. The message he leaves us with is as unsettling as it is true: Everything is politics.
The Coffeehouse Talks were a completely new format, introduced only for this year’s conference. However, more is to come: Be sure to keep updated about the TEDxVienna Podcast called “Backstories”. It will feature people with vastly different backgrounds who will speak about their ideas worth spreading.