Alwar Balasubramaniam: Art of substance and absence

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Alwar Balasubramaniam’s sculpture plays with time, shape, shadow, perspective: four tricky sensations that can reveal — or conceal — what’s really out there. At TEDIndia, the artist shows slides of his extraordinary installations.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at

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33 COMMENTS

  1. I feel like this video has changed my out look about art and the world alot after seeing it 4 months ago. I thank the artist and TED Talk.

  2. this seems to me the best of their videos
    I dont see why anyone wouldnt like it
    perspective i guess

  3. my recco of the last few ted talks till mid sep, i found this one kinda redundant n btw i am being polite when i say this 🙂

  4. why is this video on TED? dull dull dull. not any "ideas worth spreading". Come on TED – you must have tons of people wanting to participate. How come this guy got on? DULL!

  5. @racpembertondual Well it is called TED: Technology, Entertainment and Design. It's not RST: Reason, Science and Thought. You are barkin up the wrong tree my friend. Although I do like your taste better, videos like these still present some interesting ideas. How much do you know about finding meaning in sculptures anyways?

  6. @punkposer As for the whole is your red my red question, I feel that it has been answered by emotional response to color research. Simply put if your red was not my red, you would have a very different emotional response, however emotional responses to color can be predicted well enough that marketing companies rely heavily on them.

    Just my opinion.

  7. @racpembertondual As Alwar (or Buddha) just said, asking this question denies your own nature of cow. This is actually something that applies to us all. Separating one essence of human existence from all the rest and calling it THE essence is one of the gravest and most popular of all mistakes. Everything intertwines. One man's reason is another's folly, but does it have to be? Alwar's "folly" seems quite reasonable to me. Or perhaps I'm just weird.

  8. His English isn't that bad. I've heard much much worse. At least you can understand what he's saying. If you can communicate your words successfully, is it still bad English if he has a thick accent?

  9. The Freud joke was pretty good. It's hard for someone to tell a joke in English and have it make sense, when they don't speak the language well AT ALL! Props.

  10. Rambling, boring, jumps too much from one thought to another with no connection. I don't care about the accent… he is a horrible public speaker. The presentation really destroyed the message.

  11. @Athena1129 I guess there's a lot of thumbs down because it would seem that there are many people who live like the first sculpture of the guy sitting in the wall. I'm an artist myself, and I have been explaining this concept before to others. It feels good to know I'm not crazy. Nothing has meaning but the meaning we give it.

  12. @racpembertondual
    The RSA gives talks about 21st century enlightenment.
    They have a channel here on youtube.
    I think that will satisfy your hunger 😉

  13. I knew as soon as I watched this that there would be brainless spelling challenged Americans comment regarding English as the only language. Oh well, at least I wasn't disappointed.

  14. I really like his art AND his message. The footprints arn't what counts, but what is happening between them…they are just representative. You don't see the whole picture. Why does this have so many thumbs down?

  15. @racpembertondual You can find more of the "bright" talks at ted.com! They have some really interesting physics ones!

  16. As someone very interested by art, shape, form, and new ideas and concepts I found this talk to be very good.
    Thank you for it.

  17. Very interesting 🙂
    It is always good to have ones views of the world seen from another perspective.

  18. This was really interesting because he's talking about what most of us take for granted. Have you ever asked yourself, "If 90% of what we see is made up by our brain, is what we see really what is there?"

    It's all perception, this is why debates generally turn into something much more heated, because what we feel, what we believe, just IS, and if you can't see what I see, then something must be wrong w/ you…that's the general consensus when it comes to our thinking.

    Is your red my red?

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