TedxKEA 2015

Pictures from TedxKEA 2015. For TEDxKEA 2015 articles, click here

Speakers: Christian Stadil, Selina Juul, Eske Willerslev, Jan Gehl, Anja Cetti Andersen, Vigga Svensson, Sophie Trelles Tvede, Mathias Lundø Nielsen, Simon Prahm, Khaterah Parwani, Rob Scotland, Sune Urth

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TEDxKEA Brings TED talks back to Copenhagen

Last year’s TEDxKEA event was the first university TEDx to ever be held in Denmark. This year, the student organizers are back for their second go-around with an event they have labelled ‘Evolve’.

The day of talks will feature a wide range of topics and speakers, from the man behind the world’s longest pedestrian street Strøget, Jan Gehl, to women’s rights activist Khatera Parwani.

Other prominent speakers on the day include Hummel owner, Christian Stadil, ‘Dane of the Year’ and anti-food waste advocate, Selina Juul, and celebrated scientists such as astrophysicist Anja Cetti Andersen and evolutionary biologist Eske Willerslev.


Danish astronomer and astrophysicist Anja Cetti Andersen, one of 12 speakers at this years TEDxKEA event

Organizers say that this year’s event will explore topics such as big data, the circular economy, human evolution and the origins of stars and planets.

The event will be put on by a multinational team of over 30 volunteers.

“We have set out to prove what young people can accomplish and celebrate what the city of Copenhagen can offer our generation. So it was only natural to place our flag in one of Copenhagen’s landmarks, which is a hub for the students of this city,” lead TEDxKEA organiser Doug Costello said of this year’s ambitions.

“It is our aim to ignite imaginations and help our generation evolve to reach its incredible potential,” he added.

Operating under the motto “ideas worth spreading”, TEDx talks are local and self-organized events.

TEDxKEA Evolve will be held on November 21st at Copenhagen’s Black Diamond. More information can be found here.

Copenhagen Dox 2015-Ten must-see films at Cph Dox 2015

Original article written for The Local Denmark, available here.

Film fans and budding cinema enthusiasts are in for their annual autumn treat as the world’s third largest documentary film festival opens its doors this week.

Running from November 5th to 15th, the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX) was founded in 2003 and has now grown into a mammoth event that encompasses concerts, art exhibitions, professional seminars, exclusive screenings and many other activities under the guise of celebrating the world of documentary filmmaking.

CPH:DOX is devoted to the support of independent and innovative filmmaking in its attempt to build bridges between curious audiences and a diverse palette of art forms within the frames of music and visuals. This year’s festival will be as experimental and as innovative as ever, featuring curation by Olafur Eliasson (you may remember him from his newly-opened Circle Bridge or his global warming ‘wake-up call’) and hand-selected film recommendations from the likes of astrophysicist Anja Cetti Andersen, DR2 Deadline host Martin Krasnik and the former climate minister, Connie Hedegaard.

Ahead of the twelfth edition of CPH Dox, The Local has compiled a list of 10 must-see documentaries that we feel are worth watching.

1. Muhammad: The Messenger of God

Perhaps the most controversial of this year’s batch of films is Iranian director Majid Majidi’s ‘Muhammad: Messenger of God’, one of only two films ever created about the prophet of Islam. With Islam’s strict ban on imagery depicting the prophet, this film has courted controversy and has even resulted in a fatwa against its creators. The first screening of the film will be held at the newly-opened Imam Ali Mosque in Copenhagen and will feature a Q&A session with director Majidi. (Screening times)

2. A Syrian Love Story

Putting a human face on the hordes of refugees that are knocking on Europe’s borders, A Syrian Love Story is the tale of a couple who met in prison many years ago, both doing time for their protests against an oppressive regime. Filmed over five years, the film drifts through the horrors of war and the challenges that they pose to two people who love each other – and their country – more than anything in the world. (Screening times)

3. Above and Below

Whilst science is looking at how to establish the first colony on Mars, there are others, closer to home who have already prepared themselves for what life on the Red Planet is like. The sands of Nevada are home to a parallel society, who, in preparation for apocalyptic scenarios on our earth, have forged a bare and survivalist existence in isolation from the rest of the world. (Screening times)

4. Time / Out of Joint

Einstein would have loved this one, a film set as a sturdy essay that immerses itself to the point of drowning in the concept of time and its potential reversibility and relativity. If it sounds complex, that’s because it is – prepare for a wave of intellectual jargon that will make you question the way things work in our universe. (Screening times)

5. Banksy Does New York

Like him or not, Banksy has become a fundamental player in redefining the way we look at and interact with art. Yes, this fad has been capitalized on by everyone who wants to be hip, but Banksy’s art is still at intriguing as his identity (or lack thereof). Chris Mourkabel’s documentary explores some of the mayhem that Banksy has created in New York, a city at the centre of the street art debate. (Screening times)

6. Behemoth

Part of the ‘Curated By Olafur Eliasson’ series, Behemoth explores one of those problems that we all know exists and want to do something about but in the end wind up contributing to through our purchasing habits. Filmed in the dire, apocalyptically sordid confines of a mine in China, Behemoth Is a tale of struggle and of the underside of a cash-driven economy that has little remorse for those born to toil for it.  (Screening times)

7. Bike Vs Cars 

We love our bikes here in Denmark. We also love the many kilometres of paths that allow us to cruise from A to B with relative ease, but that is certainly not the case in most of the world’s other cities. The bike vs car debate may not be as intense here as it is elsewhere, but this documentary sheds varied perspectives on some of the clashing forces in the argument between two wheels and four. (Screening times)

8. Arabian Nights Vol 1 – The Restless One

Part of a compelling trilogy set in an economically-ravaged but ultimately positive Portugal, this is the first in a long line of poetic anecdotes that delve into the far reaches of one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Inspired by the classic Arab text ‘Thousand and One Nights,’ this film is both witty, morose and slightly overwhelming. (Screening times)

9. Of The North

An anthropological foray into what life is like at the northernmost place on earth, featuring footage taken by people who actually live in a hostile and unforgiving wilderness of sub-zero conditions. If you thought that Denmark is cold, this may make you think twice through its unfiltered look at life in the Arctic. (Screening times)

10. The Pearl Button

Soft, poetic genius from Chile, the serene country that gave us the likes of poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda. This is a study of the beauty of nature and the harshness of man, and of indigenous folk and their calm, collected ways. Water is a central element here, set against a backdrop of tense recollection and reflection. (Screening times)

Anja Cetti Andersen, TEDxKEA

Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here

The universe and how we got here

Of the many mysteries of life, none can compare to the quintessential question: where do we come from and what are we doing here? For hundreds of years, science, culture and religion have put forth contesting arguments to try to put an end to our existential doubts. Meanwhile, as the list of Kepler planets found in “Habitable Zones” that exist in earth-like conditions grows, questions of whether or not we have the luxury of the universe exclusively for ourselves must arise.

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Anja C. Andersen is as outstanding an astrophysicist as they come. Currently an associate professor at The Dark Cosmology Centre at the Niels Bohr Institute, her career spans many years of research in the field, for which the list of accolades she has won is almost as endless as the universe itself. Anja’s interest in the mysteries of the stars began as a teenager in Saudi Arabia, where her father worked at the time. “One of the few things that girls could do was to study, so I sat and looked at the stars through a telescope”, Anja remarks.

Whilst Anja doesn’t claim to have all the answers to the tirade of questions that keep many of us up at night, she is of the opinion that an evaluation of the manner in which we approach existentialist mysteries is necessary. “When can one be sure that something exists, even if one cannot see it?” Anja asks. We are certain, for example, that black holes do exist in the universe, but we have yet to see one with our own eyes.

The mysteries of life are endless and the approaches to solving them equally so. “Physics is a dynamic study, and its approaches and premises are changing constantly – they are constantly evolving.” Prepare to be enlightened.