Last Wednesday I gave my first Ted talk! I did it with my eyes closed. Not entirely, but starting out. Just to make a point about the human senses and how we are currently (not) using them. The organizers of the first TEDxTHUAS are all International Law students of our university and their theme for the night was: Staying Human. The research group Change Management sponsored the event and when I first suggested to give a talk on “restyling human” they looked quite surprised. The restyling seemed a bad match with the other speakers’ focus on humanitarian rights. But restyling can be a critical practice and – judged by the lively reactions to my talk – I was able to get the message across.
I must say that I had support, namely examples of the work of four so called fashion activists. These artists, like the Peruvian Lucia Cuba who made dresses to express the ambiguous feelings of women with cancer, use garments to enrich the way human emotions can be communicated and interacted with. In hypermodernity, where (almost) everything is quick and individualized and technically mediated, humans are in danger of losing their capacity to take their time and sense their environment – smell, hear, touch, feel. And that is serious! Not only because it’s part of life’s fun. The sensing-feeling side of being human is also important to be creative and to connect to other humans. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of the rational, individualistic and independent side of being human. Only that – after all – it’s not that side which distinguishes us from machines. Close your eyes and get inspired!