Desert Diaries TEDActive visits Noah Purifoys sculpture

TEDActive is all about the speculative, and so it began with an adventure. We kicked off Day Zero with an early-morning trip out and up to the mysterious world of Noah Purifoy’s sculpture.


In the high desert of Joshua Tree, we found a garden of twisted junk whirled up into unearthly (yet familiar) forms. Encircled by mountains and the smell of a storm not far off, it felt we’d discovered the playful conjurings of an eccentric sorcerer who was maybe watching us from that house over there.


Yet what was on our minds, because it’s TED, was “What the World Needs Now” and what the socially conscious sculpture answered was: _________. City-dwellers’ confrontation with predictions of threadbare times? I heard someone mention Mad Max but missed the last part of the sentence.


We separated into our groups and huddled “inside” the structures. We talked about technology. The chill meant that after two hours we all had cute red noses, but then the sun came out. We bonded. I saw at least two chivalrous gestures with warm coats and sensed that TEDActive was primed and ready to spring.


(Photos: TEDActive 2010. February 9-13, 2010, Palm Springs, CA. Credit: TED / Michael Brands)