The INK Conference 2011: Day one of the journey

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Artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and technologists are gathered in Jaipur, India to attend the second year of the INK Conference — an experience hosted by TEDster Lakshmi Pratury and with its roots in the 2009 TEDIndia conference. The Power of the Journey  is the theme of this year’s conference, held from Thursday December 8 to Sunday December 11. Through their partnership with India Times, watch all the incredible talks live here>>

The day began as Lakshmi recited the classic Robert Frost poem, The Road Less Travelled, and set the stage for the “The Call to Adventure,” a session filled with speakers who have chosen the adventures of life  over safer, more reliable options. Julie Taymor, Broadway director of The Lion King and Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, explained how her decision to spend three years soaking in the theatrical culture of Indonesia changed her productions forever. Author Amish Tripathi self-published his book after unanimous rejection, only to hit bestseller lists across India a week after releasing his work. Jewelry designer John Hardy showed that his Green School in Bali continues to thrive, recapping a year of incredible success and determination since presenting his dream at TEDGlobal 2010.  Biologist Claire Kremen encouraged farmers to make the less popular choice of diversifying their crops and in so doing, save the honeybee. Ayesha Kanna‘s call was to invest in a new kind of city — a generative city that celebrates technology and makes every resident an invested stakeholder. Mohamed Ali Mang shared his dream of becoming a Wall Street tycoon, which he dashed to move back to his native Mali and support a nutrient-enriched rice crop, and called on other young Africans to join him. But, the speaker that brought the audience to its feet was 15-year-old Aisha Chaudhary, who has lived fiercely in the face of her immune deficiency and pulmonary issues. Aisha had several pieces of life advice for her adult audience. Among them were, “Believe in miracles,” and “When all else fails, get a dog.”

The second session was the Frost poem namesake and featured speakers who continue to stand out for walking a path that’s a little different from their peers. INK Fellow Dina Buchbender uses games to teach kids about the UN’s Millenium Development Goals. Parag Khanna encouraged India to embrace globalization’s new future, and seize the opportunity to build a different model of economy — one that works. Vineet Singal and his team have been waging an incredibly public search to find a bone marrow match for his friend Amit Gupta, using optimism, humor and social networks. Composer Elliot Gloldenthal gave a retrospective of his work for film, and the unique choices that create powerful moments. Madhumita Haider demoed her game to teach kids the 11 major Indian languages, while artist Bedri Baykam walked the audience through a dizzying slideshow that illustrated his controversial artistic and political views.

Tomorrow, the first full day of sessions will take a deeper dive into the tools we need and troubles we face through every life journey.