Palm Springs only: Meet Seth Aylmer and Jose Serrano-Reyes of

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Seth Aylmer and Jose Serrano-Reyes took the TEDDIY stage today to tell us about, a new organization whose goal is to bring a microfinance model into the art world. As says their website, “Artists introduce their big ideas for works of social art on this site. Shares to fund each project are immediately up for grabs, and are offered henceforth at one dollar per share. The shares are redeemable in a public auction of the finished work one year later. The proceeds of the auction are shared 50/50 between the artist and the network of shareholders, aligning the two groups.”

The TED Blog talked to them just after Friday’s TEDDIY session:


Let’s say you got an extra minute on the TEDDIY stage. What would you say?

We would have talked about some of the actual projects. You can see many of our projects on our site. There’s a documentary starring everybody in the world that’s going to debut at Grand Central Station. It features 700,000 photographs. They created an algorithm so they can represent 6.7 billion people. They’ll play it for about 12 days in a row to represent everybody that’s on the face of this planet. There’s a worldwide commercial campaign launching in Ghana and all over the world to spread the idea of bamboo bikes and manufacturing them. They’re trying to spread the idea that people should be riding plants. One artist is creating a home completely out of garbage. An artist is working on a perfumed water fountain. She’s going to Mexico and bringing all her shareholders into the project. There’s a performance artist doing healing rituals at the most polluted sites.

What do you say to the cynics?

Watch. Sit back and watch. These are cool projects. This isn’t for everybody, but keeping an open mind for now — This is the time to try things out that are not the most straightforward. This is definitely a risk. We’re taking a risk ourselves. But it’s worth trying, whatever this is. And for the cynics … we have an ad agency on board that’s helping us. [Laughs] This is a way for people to propose their big idea and see if this microfinance model can help make it a reality.

What’s Gawker going to say to this?

[Laughs] Gawker needs to renew themselves. This “creative underclass” bullshit is not going to last much longer. It’s like people sniping from the commenting section, and it paralyzes you. If people read Gawker — it makes people think that everybody is a hater and that if you try anything in this world, somebody’s going to hate it and you’re going to fail, and it’s going to appear on Gawker. It paralyzes creativity. It paralyzes people taking creative risks. And, whatever. Nick Denton and I know each other, so … he knows how I feel about it. If there’s people sniping and showing cynicism, we’ll turn that into a beautiful thing. We’ve done that before. We’re taking this idea of turning a financial market into a beautiful thing.

Photo: TED / Michael Brands