The beautiful city of Beirut, Lebanon, has seen its share of tragedy, as a seat of Lebanon’s long-running civil war (1975-1990) and the Israeli-Lebanese conflict that came to a head in 2006. But in 2003, May El-Khalil, a local sports official, decided: It’s time to start a marathon, open to all, as an antidote to sectarianism. And despite ongoing political and security pressure, the Beirut Marathon, now entering its 11th year, has become not only the largest running event in the Middle East but a powerful force for peace.
El-Khalil was inspired to start the marathon after a personal tragedy: a near-fatal running accident. Doctors told her she would never run again. She was hospitalized for two years and had to undergo a long series of surgeries. But the resolve from this personal struggle created an event that, each year, draws runners and fans from opposing political and religious communities in a symbolic act of peace. Case in point: In 2012, on a rainy and windy November day, more than 33,000 runners turned out. Other countries around the region are now thinking of replicating this model.
Entries in TED (6)
Body Architect Lucy McRae's TED Talk & Film 'Make Your Maker', A Food & Body Morphing Experimentation
A crude laboratory plays host to a series of macabre experiments in this short from the burgeoning artist and filmmaker Lucy McRae. Inside, glowing comestibles drip and flow to mold bodily shapes that are then harvested, sliced and repackaged for consumption. Having featured in such publications as Dazed & Confused and Wallpaper*, as well as directing the award-winning Morphē for the skin care brand Aēsop, this latest endeavor from the self-styled “Body Architect” explores how food connects to the body, inside and out. “Everything is edible,” says McRae of her gelatinous props. “The stuff on the model’s face is inked rice paper, and the jellies on her body are molded agar agar, which is made from natural seaweed.” The impulse to show what we are turn into what we eat—and vice versa—was inspired by an encounter with Vietnamese restaurateur Nahji Chu whose outlets in the director’s native Australia merge the culinary arts with an investigation of cultural and individual identity. Taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of production, from the cinematography to the science, McRae adds a personal element to that notion of synthesis, inspired by human biology. “The idea is to create genetic manipulations,” she explains. “Eating them is a transdermal absorption.”
Lucy McRae: How can technology transform the human body? TED Talk in 6 Minutes
TED Fellow Lucy McRae is an artist who straddles the worlds of fashion, technology and the body. Trained as a classical ballerina and architect, her work – which is inherently fascinated with the human body – involves inventing and building structures on the skin that reshape the human silhouette. Her provocative and often grotesquely beautiful imagery suggests a new breed: a future human archetype existing in an alternate world. The media call her an inventor; friends call her a trailblazer. Either way, Lucy relies on instinct to evolve an extraordinary visual path that is powerful, primal and unique. See Lucy McRae website.
Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir3, ‘Water Night’
What began just now as a Wired Magazine excursion into Planet TEDx, took a stunning, emotional turn into the world of classical composer and conductor Eric Whitacre and his global choral works produced by singers using their webcams. (Note, for heavens sake read the article on organizing TEDx events in your community.)
Torn between two competing interests, I speed read the article and returned to Whitacre, where I’m a puddle of tears.
In the TED video below Eric Whitacre describes an online experiment he’d recently carried out. “He posted the sheet music for one of his popular choral works, as well as a video of him conducting the work as a piano played along. Then he invited singers around the globe to perform their parts—soprano, alto, tenor, bass—in front of their own webcams.”
After hundreds of people responded with videos — many made 100 times or more until the performance was perfect to each individual — Whitacre arranged them into a simulation of a real-life choir, with himself as conductor. Speaking to the TED crowd, Whitacre explains that he was “moved to tears” when he first saw it—these singers “on their own desert islands, sending electronic messages in bottles to each other.”
I am so moved by this concept and admit to knowing nothing about it until this minute. Eric Whitacre’s website is another excursion all by itself. Thanks, Wired. I was struggling for something special to share this moment, and you delivered.
PS, I came to Wired from TED -- where I struck out in my quick swoop of recent TED Talks. Wired sent me right back to TED with a noble purpose of sharing this vision of our planet and people together. Of course, this is the AOC progressive vision of humanity that drives socialn conservatives mad and labels people like myself unpatriotic for my embrace of the global community.
It is here that hope for humanity lives, the idea that the power of our voices together can somehow stop the savagery of others toward each other. It seems appropriate to dedicate AOC’s introduction of Eric Whitacre’s ‘Water Night’ to a cease fire and an honest, viable attempt to stop the killing in Gaza and Israel. ~ Anne
Eric Whittaker at TED