What if…?

ORANJESTAD — In its second year, the TEDxAruba team wanted to take a step further than providing possible solutions and aimed to imagine new realities by exploring the challenging question of "What if...?" 

TEDxAruba made its debut last year where 12 local and international speakers took the stage to discuss the theme of "Island of Sustainable Solutions." I was asked to create a poetic summary of all the TEDxAruba 2015 talks and recite it on local band Datapanik's track 'Frecuencia.' This year, I was asked to organize and host the entertainment portion of TEDxAruba 2016. As we pondered on the concept of "What if...?" during the meetings, it became clear to all of us that this question can be tackled in many ways. After exploring some of these possibilities, our IT manager Marlon Kock said what if we go on the streets and ask random people 'what if' questions such as 'what if you won the lottery?' The idea reminded me of a project I did with Famia Planea earlier this year and I liked the images it sparked in my mind. I called my videographer Robert Tromp and explained the concept and we got right to it. Together with Ninita (the mannequin which formed part of artist Cado de Lanooy's stage design for TEDxAruba 2016), I asked some folks a series of 10 questions that we came up with during the meetings. I knew we wouldn't feature all the questions and answers but I wanted enough material to be able to filter through what works. The first 'What if minisode' we made poses the question "What if... you were immortal?"

After sharing the video on social media and national TV we received many reactions from people telling us which answers they agreed with and which they thought were funny. Some people gave their own answers and others gave us suggestions of more questions to ask. We released the second minisode one week before TEDxAruba asking the question "What if Donald Trump became President of the United States?"

Aside from being promotional material for TEDxAruba 2016, we also incorporated these minisodes during the entertainment portion of the main event held on the 23rd of September 2016 at Cas di Cultura. The conversations that these questions provoke are in line with the purpose of this year's "What if...?" theme. The entertainment portion was further completed by an electrifying opening show choreographed by Kevin Gumbs featuring break dancer Elvys Sanchez and the students of John Wesley College. Our musical performance this year was focused on thought provoking lyrics as we wanted to connect the TED talks with the songs being presented. For this reason, Levi Silvanie was invited to perform two sets of moving songs accompanied by Aruba's own world class musician Serghio Jansen. Although we were in Aruba's largest auditorium, the acoustic sound and personal delivery of both Levi and Serghio created an intimate setting mimicking Levi's open house concerts which he hosts all over the world in living rooms of ordinary people.

"Papa Dios prome mi drumi mi kier yama bo danki p'e persona cu m'a topa cu no a cuminda mi" - Levi Silvanie. We have been friends for over 5 years, but when I got to introduce his pieces at this years TEDxAruba I did so with the respect and admiration of an observer to an inspiring soul. Happy Birthday buddy, stima bo largo tempo!#pressplay

Posted by Rosabelle Chuchi Illes on Monday, November 7, 2016

It was an exciting challenge to be part of the organizing team and to host the entertainment portion of TEDxAruba 2016. I am thankful for all the help and trust I received from the Bureau of Innovation, Elite Productions, my entertainment team and all the many puzzle pieces that were put in place to make this event so successful. Lastly, our nine speakers... oh man our speakers! I have said many times that it is extremely difficult to keep my attention during conferences  these speakers were engaging, their topics were interesting and their delivery was on point! TEDxAruba 2017? I don't know but for now back to work...

To watch the live stream of the entire conference or to relive your favorite moments click here.

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