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Alice Wang

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(Applause) you might not know that behind the stage, they've prepared many wines for us in case we got nervous so just in case, I have it with me mm...actually...I have been wondering if I owed Jason or Kevin money or else why would they pull such a prank on me The previous speakers are all big names, such as the director of Frog Design, Tao Zhe and Liu Shiuan too What am I going to talk about now? so I can't tell you I don't want to tell you what I have done I want to tell you my sotry so far!! What I am doing right now well I was not an A student growing up The kindergarten teacher always like to ask What do you want to do when you grow up? I remembered many children in my class wanted to be the president a policeman a chef a flight attendant but when it was my turn I told the teacher I want to be an artist My teacher looked at me paused for a second, then skipped to the next kid Basically the teacher viewed me as a crazy kid The word "artist"... Doesn't mean anything Doesn't mean anything At that time, if the word meant anything at all it was poverty or something like a homeless guy someone drawing portrait on street Starting from that moment I believed that I will be an artist in the future Since the age of 4, my mom bought me a toy cart similar to this one it was pink well, she wanted me to put my dolls in there Of course, I didn't care for dolls much so I used it to carry my paintings instead I put all my paintings inside this cart Whenever there were quests in the house I would pull out the cart to sell my paintings (laughing) because you know adults tend to humor the kids so my paintings were always sold out, I truly believed that I will become an artist with achievement This was misleading Ever since I was little every final exam, every midterm, I was always placed last in class well, there were 52 people in my class once, only once I made it to the 51th place My father patted me on the shoulder and said Alice, you have finally improved I said to him, I hate to tell you this but a classmate was absent due to a cold (laughing) Everytime my mom bought me an exercise book, I had a headache Not because I had more work cut out for me it was because I had to go to the bookstore to get an answer book and come back to school again before my mom came to pick me up I copied the answer for 3 years without her notice I wasn't like most of children who got an answer book, they copied everything from the answer book that would get them caught quickly I would intentionally make a mistake here and there or write the wrong answer to avoid being discovered so I copied the answers for quite a while Since I was little, I always have this dream that I want to become an artist I met all kinds of teachers and friends during this journey sometimes even my family started to doubt me if they should let me, the crazy kid, to continue with her dream Many teachers used to tell me that you should do something else you should do something else Because this path might lead you nowhere there is no future But I still believe if I continued down this road I might reach it, my dream of being an artist so 2 years ago which was in 2008 I graduated from the Royal College of Art I received a MFA degree in Design Interactions and graduated as one of the top 5 in my class at that moment, I thought all my troubles were finished and gone but it was the beginning of a nightmare When I graduated, I was invited to Milan furniture fair well It is an exhibition for new designers I was very excited I made a lot of pieces After I have packed the works, and took them to the customs agency I realized that it was weighted over 250 kg I thought would this go on the plane? the guy said well, the carryon cannot be over 30kg ok, and now I have to think another way to solve the problem the customs told me that 250kg is way above the limit so, I had to set up a company Due to this incident a very peculiar reason I formed a company (laughing) It was only for a stamp Well, I have a company and I brought these chairs to Milan This series of works, meant to investigate our daily habits good habits and bad habits for instance, that gray chair it calculate the calories burned when you sit and shake your legs (laughing) the green chair in the middle it will amplify sound of you farting (laughing) so I brought these chairs to the exhibition for 10 days then I returned home When I was back , I thought that... well...since I have a stamp and a registered company so...why not?! why not set up a design company I didn't have money then All the scholarship I had were spent in Milan without the money to rent an office I decided to use Starbucks as my first... first office People might ask why Starbucks? Actually, I had thought this through If you count caculated carefully, 2 cups of coffee a day 5 working days a week 4 weeks a month plus the internet fee it only costs 4500 per month which included utilities, air-conditioning, cleaning and coffee machine (laugh and Audience applause ) so I saved the rent by working in every Starbucks in Taipei Wherever my clients want to meet up I can always make it becuase my office is.. everywhere in Taipei As you know... every business needs a bussiness plan In order to convince my parents I wrote a business plan But I didn't have a MBA degree I didn't have any experience of running a company so I wrote something like this 4 main objectives First objective is Client I make design for clients they are lovely and I love them too But basically working for them is only for the money Second objective is research Doing many researches in social issues, art and design... This will not make any money Next is collectables Making art or design products to be collected Actually I just want to fulfill my dream since I was 4 Finally, I wanted to start publishing a magazine It is called:"The Binder" I will introduce it later then... Many people read my business plan Actually there was no plan just 4 objectives People think I was crazy and this company should probably go out of business in one year Well, I think no one succeeds at first try, right? This business plan, of course it is meant to fail If we are right everytime no one makes a mistake, why do we need an eraser on top of every pencil? well I get many inspirations and ideas from life experiences 2 months ago, I went to Duan-Huang you know before I left I didn't know where it is becuase I didn't really pay attention in geography class so after I got on the flight, I realized that it was far away from Taiwan you need to fly from Taipei to Hong Kong Hong Kong to Xi An Xi An to Duen Huang When you arrived Duen Huang you realized Duen Huang City is very small Beyond the city, there is only desert You stand on your foot and turn around 360 degree, the view is the same There is no real road the main transportation is camel every house has a place for getting on a camel It is like having a private parking space next to the house but they park camel and we park Porsche or BENZ well, I discovered 2 things there First one is the camel looks a lot like alien (laughing) I never get so close to a camel before usually it happens in a zoo or in the movie or on Discovery channel or something So the first time I said, wow! so camel has extremely separated eyes Second one? I realized that the word water and the actual thing are very very precious to them Unlike us, we have tap water it never runs out You can have it running the whole day it never runs dry over there to them water is very precious very very precious this is their cotton fields and grape fields Well, the minute they start planting they need to water it after watering they immediately cover the field with white plastic sheet becuase the water evaporated is several thousand times more than the actual rainfall Without the plastic cover the seeds will dry up immediately I start to wonder if every city varies in rainfall due to difference in water resource and the city would has its own definition or value perspective or feeling regarding water Then I decided I wanted to make a rain project I decided to build a portable rain laboratory This lab will document the smell, sound and text of rain even its color Most importantly we will invite people to drink the rain from your own city and from other cites On this car there is a basic filter equipment it filters out the pollution and bacteria but also keeps its own taste and smell well, I want to drive this car and travel the whole world and to collect the rains from cities all over the world If any enterprise wants to sponsor me, please go for it well...I would like... to invite people from different cities drinking the rain of your own city and others then like I said I want to compare samples from different cities Moreover, I want to take the rain from each city to make it into a local specialty For instance, the raining ice cream you can have the rain ice cream of Toyko, New York, and Taipei Then you can compare the difference of rain in each cities and finally people familiar with me all know about this strange and persistent habit of mine Every morning during breakfast I would read 30-40 blogs or websites I am as artist... I don't know if I can call myself artist yet.. or as self-artist or designer the basic responsibility is to know what the rest of the world is doing not living in your own world making art That's why I read 30-40 blogs each morning then I would pick up a work or an article post it on my blog So I post selected articles I read on my blog then.. on the April fool's day this year, I was having coffee with a friend I told her that you know what? I decided to make my blog into a magazine She thinks I was joking and said "yeah...whatever" You know there is a saying in publishing business if you want to screw up someone, ask her to publish a magazine because it guarantees to lose money I said, it is too late because I already did it it is called : The Binder It is a 3-hole file folder... magazine there are 3 holes on each volume We hope that you can choose the content you like and keep it or categorize it based on your preference throw away the ones you don’t like as for the folder you can use it to collect the next volume This magazine won't tell you what the hottest mobile phone is or which designer brand has a new handbag It tells you that there are people like me chasing their dream why chase it why do they have this ideal how do they make it or what measures they took before reaching it Finally, I would like to share a quote that inspired me He said: Dream what you want to dream Go where you want to go Be what you want yo be Because you have only one life And one chance to do all the things you wanna do Which means you only have this life to live So you only get one chance If you have a dream Don't hesitate to chase it Thank you (Applause)

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: Taiwan
Producer: The Big Question Ltd.
Director: The Big Question Ltd.
Views: 101
Posted by: tedxtaipei on Nov 30, 2010

Alice Wang speaks at TEDxTaipei

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